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MLS Re-Entry Draft: How it works

Major League Soccer's Re-Entry Draft is a quirky thing. There are a lot of rules and not every player who has their option declined enters the draft. Rather than post the list of players available along with the rules, I'm breaking it up to make it more digestible. Re-Entry Rules & Timeline and Re-Entry Player Eligibility are after the break.

Rules & Timeline

Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 drafts will be conducted in the same order as the traditional Waiver Draft, with the Montreal Impact selecting 19th.

Each club may either select a player from the eligible player list, or pass. Once a team has passed, they may no longer participate in that stage of the Re-Entry Process. Each stage will continue until all 19 clubs have passed on the available players.

Clubs must exercise the option for, or extend a Bona Fide Offer to, players selected in Stage 1.

Players that were out of contract may either accept or reject the Bona Fide Offer. Should a player reject the offer, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Players with option years left on their contract will automatically be added to the drafting club’s roster.

Any player selected in Stage 1 will remain on the drafting club’s 2012 budget at the option price or Bona Fide Offer price until April 1, 2012. Clubs and players may not mutually renegotiate that price to a lower number until April 1, 2012.

Clubs may not select their own players in Stage 1. Players will have the opportunity to negotiate contracts and sign with their previous clubs after the Stage 1 draft is complete through 5 p.m. ET on December 9.

In Stage 2, clubs may select from players that are under contract and those not under contract. If a player is not under contract, the drafting club will be required to make a genuine offer to the player within seven days. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and an out-of-contract player, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.

Clubs may select their own players in the Stage 2 draft only after all other clubs have declined to select those players.

If a player is not selected in either stage of the Re-Entry Process, that player will be available on a first come first serve basis to all clubs.

Re-Entry Process Schedule

From November 29 to December 2
Between November 29 and December 2, clubs may still:

Sign their own Re-Entry Process-eligible players to new contracts, and
Sign and trade such players to other clubs, provided that all parties agree to such trade (i.e., current club, future club, and player).

Friday, December 2
5:00 pm: Blackout period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft-eligible players until Dec. 5.

Monday, December 5
All Bona Fide Offers that were open as of November 29 may be withdrawn by clubs.
League Office conducts Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Process (via conference call).

From December 5 to December 9
Blackout period ends after the Stage 1 draft and former clubs may again sign and/or sign and trade their own draft-eligible players to new contracts (i.e., a Club may sign its player not selected in Stage 1), provided that all parties agree to any such trade (i.e., current club, future club and player).

Friday, December 9
5:00 pm: Beginning of blackout period whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft eligible players.

Sunday, December 11
All Bona Fide Offers from Stage 1 (December 5) may be withdrawn by clubs.

Monday, December 12
League Office conducts Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process.

Player Eligibility

Available to all teams in the Re-Entry Process will be:
  1. Players who are at least 23-years-old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2012).
  2. 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 offer them a contract at their previous salary (available at 2011 salary).
  3. Players who are at least 30-years-old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2011 salary).
Players who are not selected in the Stage 1 draft will be made available for the Stage 2 draft on December 12. Clubs selecting players in Stage 2 will negotiate a new salary with the player.
Players who remain unselected after Stage 2 will be available to any MLS club on a first come, first served basis.
Players with expiring contracts or options that are not renewed by their clubs who do not meet the age and service requirements necessary to be included in the Re-Entry Draft were part of the Waiver Draft on Nov. 23.