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Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Inter Miami Hoy

Inter Miami CF will have 1st pick in MLS Expansion Draft

Inter Miami CF also elects No. 1 pick in 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas and No. 2 position in Allocation Ranking

MIAMI, Fla. (October 6, 2019) —

Inter Miami CF picked up both number one selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft as well as the first selection in the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.

Managing Owner Jorge Mas along with Sporting Director Paul McDonough joined Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre with General Manager Mike Jacobs to select priorities in the five available player acquisition mechanisms during the MLS Priority Expansion Draft on Sunday afternoon in midtown Manhattan. The draft kicked off an intense final day of the regular MLS season on MLSsoccer.com’s “Matchday Central: Decision Day presented by AT&T Pregame Show.”

Paul McDonough and Jorge Mas prior to the Decision Day Show.

With this draft in place, both clubs are strategically positioned to make key roster-building moves following their first official league event ahead of the 2020 season.  

“We had a great result today winning the No. 1 pick for the Expansion Draft putting us in a position to plan how to move forward with our roster building,” said McDonough. “We now know we control the Expansion Draft and can strategically look at different talents within the league who could provide the leadership, character and support we want at Inter Miami.”  

An opening coin toss awarded Inter Miami with the first pick, which was used to select the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Expansion Draft on Nov. 19. With the second selection, Nashville took the No. 1 ranking in the Allocation Order. The two clubs alternated subsequent picks until all five roster-building mechanisms were selected. 

MLS Expansion Priority Draft Results in selection order: 

  1. No.1 pick in 2019 MLS Expansion Draft: Inter Miami CF No. 1, Nashville SC No. 2 
  1. No.1 position in Allocation Ranking Order: Nashville SC No. 1, Inter Miami CF No. 2 
  1. No.1 pick in 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas: Inter Miami CF No. 1, Nashville SC No. 2 
  1. Penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order: Nashville SC No. 25, Inter Miami CF No. 26 
  1. Penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking: Inter Miami CF No. 25, Nashville SC No. 26 

The momentum for Inter Miami to strengthen its inaugural MLS rosters continues on Nov. 19 with the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft, where the debutants will then have an opportunity to select up to five current players from other MLS teams. Each current MLS team may protect up to 12 rostered players (11 in previous years) from inclusion on the eligible players list. 

The complete list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Saturday, November 16. 

Exempt clubs with players selected by FC Cincinnati in the 2018 Expansion Draft are D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, and the New York Red Bulls. 

The official date for the 2020 MLS SuperDraft will be announced at a later date.


Inter Miami will have the No. 1 pick in the Major League Soccer Expansion Draft on November 19 and the No. 1 pick in the college SuperDraft in early January 2020.

Miami’s new team, co-owned by David Beckham, won the Expansion Priority Draft coin flip in New York City on Sunday, which gave it first dibs over the other 2020 expansion team, Nashville SC, among five player acquisition methods. The teams alternated picks until all five were selected.

Miami chose the No. 1 pick in the Expansion Draft, from which Miami and Nashville can select up to five players each from a list of current MLS players who have not been protected by their teams. Each team can protect 12 players.

Five of the league’s 24 teams are exempt from providing players — D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, and New York Red Bulls – because they lost players to FC Cincinnati in the 2018 Expansion Draft 

Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said on Sunday that their roster will ideally have “10 to 12” players with MLS experience, and having the first pick in the Expansion Draft is an important puzzle piece.

“It allows us to dictate the course of the draft and hopefully get the best player in the draft with the most MLS experience,” McDonough said. “As we build, we’ll be adding a lot of guys who don’t have that, but we think the league has grown so much with the inclusion of TAM (Targeted Allocation Money) and the salary cap going up that some teams are deeper, so we should be able to get a few key pieces to help us.”

McDonough and his staff have been going through every team’s roster, trying to predict who will be available. He is playing close attention to the league’s most talented teams. Some clubs will protect the 12 best players. Others may choose to protect a young emerging talent and expose a player with a big contract.

Miami could get five players from that draft, or take two or three and trade the other picks.

With the second pick in Sunday’s Priority Draft, Nashville chose the No. 1 position in the Allocation Ranking Order, by which teams can acquire select U.S. men’s national team players, elite U.S. youth national team players, and former MLS players returning to the league after leaving for transfer fees of more than $500,000.

In 2016, then-expansion team Atlanta United used the top allocation spot to get U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Inter Miami used the third selection on Sunday for the No.1 pick in 2020 MLS SuperDraft, which is primarily for college players.

“People always say the college draft is getting worse, but if you look over all the past years, there’s always still a few quality players every year that come out and contribute successfully to the league,” McDonough said.

In the most recent Priority Draft, between Atlanta and Minnesota in 2016, Atlanta wound up with the top pick in the Expansion Draft and the top spot in the Allocation Order. They traded the top pick in the Expansion Draft, Donny Toia, for the eighth overall pick in the 2017 SuperDraft, which they used to select Julian Gressel, who was voted Rookie of the Year.

Minnesota got the first pick in the SuperDraft and selected Abu Danladi, who scored eight goals in his first season and was runner-up for Rookie of the Year, behind Gressel.

As for the final two methods of roster building, Nashville chose the penultimate position in the MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order, and Inter Miami will have penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking. The Re-Entry Draft is for certain MLS players whose contract options were declined. Discovery Players are players teams keep on a list who don’t fall under other categories.

McDonough helped build expansion teams Orlando City and Atlanta, and that experience is proving invaluable for Inter Miami, said co-owner Jorge Mas.

“One of the reasons Paul is here is his experience in building a championship-caliber team,” Mas said. “MLS rules are very particular to our league, especially as you fill a roster on an expansion team, so his experience is essential; but more importantly, his instinct, being able to identify what players to build a roster with and what mix will allow us to get the type of championship culture we want at Inter Miami.”

So far, Inter Miami has signed five young players – Julian Carranza and Matias Pellegrini of Argentina, Christian Makoun of Venezuela, David Norman Jr of Canada and Miami native George Acosta. The team has not yet announced its big-name “Designated Players’’ – Edinson Cavani of Paris St Germain and David Silva of Manchester City are among the players linked to the team.

A coach is expected to be hired by the end of October. McDonough said he’d like the coach to be in place before the Expansion Draft so he can be involved in the process.

By Ken Russo

My work in the business of soccer applies skills acquired in law practice with a focus on the sport's commercial, communications and sporting components. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage in dialogue on news and relevant issues in the game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.

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