Barry Robson training BC Place
Bob Frid

North American 'secondary' transfer window open for business

We are officially a week into summer, and with it, an important juncture in the 2012 season has arrived for Major League Soccer clubs.

Today marks the opening of the North American ‘secondary’ transfer window, which allows MLS clubs to move or acquire players - either under contract or not - to and from other leagues and countries in world soccer until Friday, July 27.

Following the close of the ‘secondary’ transfer window on July 27, only players that are out of contract during and after this summer window period will be eligible to join an MLS club before the end of this season from other leagues and countries. The same applies to out-of-contract players that leave MLS to play in another league or country.

The ‘secondary’ transfer window follows the North American ‘primary’ transfer window, which allowed MLS clubs to make player transactions between January 21 and April 15 of this year.

Player trades within MLS, however, will be allowed to take place until the league’s Roster Freeze Deadline on Saturday, September 15, at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).

Several players were lined up to formally join MLS clubs in this secondary window, including Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s newest Designated Player Barry Robson (pictured).

The Scotland international was ineligible to play for the Blue and White until today, having been under contract to Middlesbrough FC until the conclusion of the 2011-12 English League Championship season, which ended outside both North American transfer windows, at the end of April.

The North American transfer windows differ in timeline to other parts of the soccer world. In Europe, their primary window occurs during their off-season (July 1 to August 31), while their secondary (mid-season) window takes place during the month of January (January 1 to 31).

“While this is our secondary window, this time of year is the primary window in other parts of the world,” said Greg Anderson, Whitecaps FC director of professional teams, to

“As a result, many players are out of contract and that usually means the bigger names will make moves to MLS now, rather than at the start of our season.

“The challenge for MLS teams is to find the salary cap space and the international roster spot in their squads that have already been assembled.”

As MLS clubs work diligently to find additions that can improve their squads for the second half of the season, the anticipation of new faces arriving in the league will naturally lead to speculation by the media and supporters alike over the next four-and-a-half weeks.

Whitecaps FC have already made moves in their roster, heading into this secondary window. New Zealand international Michael Boxall has moved on after a season-and-a-half in Vancouver, while youngster Caleb Clarke is on trial in Europe with FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt, with a view to a loan move to the German third-tier club.

Stay logged on to for all the latest news from Martin Rennie’s squad during this secondary transfer window.