Even though MLS Cup isn’t over, today kicks off the start of every team’s development for next season. If you have not followed the downfall of Chivas USA and the rise of a new LA based MLS franchise expected in two-years time, then students there is some required reading. Firstly, head on over to SB Nation’s Chivas USA dedicated site, The Goat Parade, and go over this article stream and upon completion come back here to Business of Soccer and read about the investment behind the expected new franchise…then come back to this article (you should probably leave the tab open).
Back to Business…Chivas USA’s Dispersal Draft, being held via private teleconference today, represents one of five total player drafts (the most of any off-season period) that will occur between the 2014 and 2015 regular seasons, which includes the Dispersal Draft, Expansion Draft, Re-entry/Waiver Draft, SuperDraft and Supplemental draft. These five drafts will add to four MLS College Drafts (replaced by the SuperDraft in 2000) fifteen SuperDrafts, twelve supplemental drafts, eight Expansion Drafts, and four Re-entry/Waiver Drafts since the league’s inception in 1996.
There has only been one previous Dispersal Draft; back in 2002 when the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny contracted and both teams’ players were dispersed via an initial Allocation Draft followed by a Dispersal Draft. This time around the process of handling the players will be considerably different.
The first major change from 2002 is that there will be no separation into an allocation and dispersal two-part draft. There will be only one draft that will run until every team has opted to forego their selection.
The order of selection represents another change from 2002. Last time around, the Allocation Draft order was determined by the previous season’s various unused team allocations while the Dispersal draft order was determined by SuperDraft position. This year MLS held a random weighted draw based on playoff participation where playoff teams received one envelope and non-playoff teams received two.
In 2002, teams were also able to make trades involving order position subject to commissioner or designee approval, this time such trades are not allowed. Additionally this year, teams are only given one minute to determine their player selection. This is a significant change from 2002 where teams had ten minutes in the Allocation and First round of the Dispersal Drafts followed by 5 minutes for the subsequent Dispersal rounds with a 15 minute break in between Allocation and Dispersal Drafts. Beyond that in 2002 each team was given two five-minute timeouts which could not be used consecutively and after-which an immediate choice needed to be made.
At the time of contraction, Miami and Tampa had three first round SuperDraft picks between them and those were available for selection as well. While all trades Chivas USA made involving their 2015 SuperDraft picks will be honored by the league, any picks they still maintained (a third round ‘natural selection’ & a fourth round trade from DC United) would be deleted and the same goes for their 2016 SuperDraft picks.
In the end, twenty of the thirty five players available from Miami’s and Tampa’s rosters were selected along with all three first round picks. Today, there are twenty five players still on Chivas USA’s roster technically available for selection. A wrinkle in the selection process is that upon selection clubs must take the players full budget charges to their cap and any options on the player must be exercised which includes loans or transfers.
Other than Bocanegra retiring and on loan defender Eriq Zavaleta, the only two players not involved in the Dispersal draft are Eric Avila, who according to The Goat Parade’s Alicia Rodriguez is in the process of being sold to Santos Laguna in LigaMX, and the main CUSA attraction Eric “Cubo” Torres who’s sale from Chivas Guadalajara is still being negotiated by MLS.
It will be interesting to see how this Dispersal Draft plays out because any players not selected will become eligible for the Re-entry/Waiver Draft for potentially different salaries than those players were on prior to dispersal. The MLS Players Union also released a statement affirming their commitment to helping MLS and the Chivas USA players to make every transition as smooth as possible.
The subsequent drafts are as follows:
- Expansion Draft for OCSC & NYCFC (December 10th)
- Waiver Draft/Re-Entry (December 10th/December 12th & 18th)***
- SuperDraft (January 15th)
- Supplemental Draft (after the SuperDraft)
The Expansion Draft is where team’s need to keep their second eye on during the Dispersal Draft because in taking a player on today, they bring one more player to potentially be protected or risked in Orlando City SC’s and New York City FC’s Expansion selections. Both teams alternate selecting a total of ten players each from rosters around the league. Each team is allowed to protect eleven players with non-graduated Generation Adidas players and non-senior roster Homegrown players both automatically protected. This year, it has been confirmed that in exchange for any players selected in the Expansion Draft, the team losing the player will receive allocation money.
In previous Expansion drafts, international players were given specific protection from the league whereby they required any teams with more than three international players to have at least three protected, and if they have less than three, only one of those internationals can remain un-protected. It’s unclear whether this will be the case this year though it seems unlikely the league would remove an aspect that has been a part of Expansion Drafts since their inception.
The number of various mechanisms and drafts that new and current clubs need to be aware of is ever changing. Business of Soccer did a series breaking down MLS Roster Rules and the various player acquisition and contract mechanisms only 10 months ago and already it is missing a few new updates.
Core-Player designations, Designated Player Rankings & USL Pro/NASL Player Rankings are all absent and have been added within the past 10 months and already they’ve tripped up NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. Kreis in the OSCS and NYCFC ranking priority process intended to select the higher pick in the Discovery Ranking but admitted later that he did so accidentally and had intended to pick the higher ranking in the USLPro/NASL ranking.
Starting today with the final step in Chivas USA’s dissolution and going until the middle of January, MLS looks set to have a very active and potentially exciting off-season with the various drafts and expansion exercises, and with the current CBA expiring December 31st, the changes don’t appear likely to stop.
***EDITS: We incorrectly first reported that the Waiver Draft would be done with the Re-Entry Draft, that was incorrect, it will be held separately and before***