2019 MLS Re-Entry Draft: Rules And Procedure

The MLS Re-Entry process begins on Nov. 26, giving teams a chance to select experienced MLS players who have not agreed to a new contract with their current club but who may want to stay in the league. 

Key dates:

Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft: Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. ET

Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft: Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET

List of Who Is Eligible:

  • The list of players eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, Stage 1 will be released on Nov. 22 by 12 p.m. ET
  • The list of eligible players for the Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2 will be released on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. ET.

Players With Options:

If a player has an option year in his contract, the Option Exercise Deadline is on Nov. 21, 1 p.m. ET: All MLS clubs must notify the League Office in writing of players whose options they are exercising.  

Who Is Eligible:  

Players who are eligible to be selected in the Re-Entry Draft include:

  • Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose contract options were not exercised by their clubs. They will be available at their option salary for 2019.
  • Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary. They are available for at least their 2019 salary.
  • Free Agents that choose to participate.

Re-Entry Draft Process 

The Re-Entry Process will commence after MLS Cup. 

Teams select in the reverse order of their finish during the 2019 season, taking into account playoff performance. FC Cincinnati will hold the first selection and the MLS Cup champion will get the 24th pick. Nashville SC will have the 25th pick, and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection (as a result of the Expansion Priority Draft held on the last weeekend of the 2019 MLS season). 

The draft takes place over two stages:

Stage 1

  • Clubs must exercise the option for, or extend a Bona Fide Offer to, all players selected in Stage One and may not select their own draft-eligible players. Players with option years left on their contract will automatically be added to the drafting club’s roster.
  • Should a player reject the offer, the drafting club will hold the Right of First Refusal for that player in MLS.

 Stage 2

  • All players who are not selected in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft will be made available again in Stage Two.
  • If a player is selected, the drafting club will be required to make a genuine offer to the player within seven days.
  • If an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and the player, the drafting club will hold the Right of First Refusal for that player in MLS.
  • Clubs may not select their own draft-eligible players in Stage Two until all other Clubs have declined selecting such players.

Source: MLS Communications with edits by Russo Soccer