Major League Soccer today announced the full calendar of offseason roster building events, highlighted by the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft on December 11.
FC Cincinnati begin MLS play in 2019 as a club in the Eastern Conference, and through the Expansion Draft will select five current MLS players to help shape the core of their inaugural roster. FC Cincinnati’s Expansion Draft selections will be announced live at 2 p.m. ET during a special Expansion Draft selection show on MLSsoccer.com.
Since 2014, each round of expansion has involved two incoming clubs selecting players from the eligible player list, therefore, for the purpose of the Expansion Draft, LAFC and FC Cincinnati are considered a single round of expansion. While the two expansion clubs are selecting players in successive years, for competitive consistency, current MLS teams that had players selected by LAFC in the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft will be exempt from the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft, however, LAFC players will be eligible for selection by FC Cincinnati.
FC Cincinnati will receive additional allocation money as compensation for a reduction in the eligible player pool due to the exempted teams.
The complete list of players eligible for selection by FC Cincinnati in the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Monday, Dec. 10.
In addition to the Expansion Draft, MLS released the full calendar for offseason roster building events, detailed below.
|Nov. 26||12 p.m.||Option Exercise Deadline||Clubs no longer competing in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs must notify the League Office in writing of 1) players whose options they are exercising and/or 2) players who are receiving bona fide offers, announced by the teams.|
|Nov. 30||12 p.m.||Option Exercise Deadline for Non-MLS Cup Participants||Non-MLS Cup participants must notify the League Office in writing of 1) players whose options they are exercising and/or 2) players who are receiving bona fide offers, announced by the clubs.|
|Dec. 9||8 a.m. to 12 p.m.||Half Day Trade Window||Following a three-month roster freeze, MLS clubs may begin making adjustments to their rosters. This is a four-hour window in which clubs may sign and trade players (both non-Re-Entry Draft eligible players and Re-Entry Draft eligible).|
|11 a.m.||Option Exercise Deadline for MLS Cup Participants||Clubs that compete in MLS Cup must notify the League Office in writing of 1) players whose options they are exercising and/or 2) players who are receiving bona fide offers.|
|12 p.m.||Blackout Period Begins||Blackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft-eligible players until conclusion of Expansion Draft.|
|Dec. 11||1 p.m.||2018 MLS Expansion Draft (live on MLSsoccer.com)||While Generation adidas and off-budget Homegrown Players are automatically exempt, eligible MLS clubs may protect up to 11 players from selection in the Expansion Draft.
The list of players available for selection in the Expansion Draft will be released by MLS Communications on Dec. 10.
FC Cincinnati may select up to five players from the eligible MLS player pool. Only a single player can be drafted from any one club.
|2 p.m.||Free Agency Begins||Clubs may engage with players, other than their own, that are eligible for Free Agency.
Eligible players include Out of Contract and Option Decline players that meet the age and years-of-service parameters.
MLS Communications will make the complete list of Free Agents available on Dec. 10.
|Dec. 12||3 p.m.||2018 MLS Waiver Draft||Consisting of players who have been waived by clubs and do not meet minimum years of service requirement for Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency; the Waiver Draft is conducted in reverse order of 2018 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion FC Cincinnati selecting last.
The list of players eligible for selection in Waiver Draft will be released by MLS Communications by 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 11.
|Dec. 14||2 p.m.||2018 MLS Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1||The Re-Entry Draft (both stages) is conducted in reverse order of 2018 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion club FC Cincinnati selecting last.
The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1 will be released by MLS Communications by 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 13.
|Dec. 20||1 p.m.||2018 MLS Re-Entry Draft – Stage 2||The Re-Entry Draft Stage 2 is conducted in the same format as Stage 1 and consists of MLS players who were not selected in the Stage 1. Not necessarily all unselected Stage 1 players will be available as players may re-sign with their previous club between stages or may opt out of the process.
Teams selecting players in Stage 2 may negotiate new contracts with the player.
The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1 will be released by MLS Communications at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 19.