Home CONCACAF The MLS Re-Entry Draft: How it affects the Crew and Real Salt Lake

The MLS Re-Entry Draft: How it affects the Crew and Real Salt Lake

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The Dec. 8 MLS Re-Entry Draft is a straightforward process, but there will be a couple of considerations for Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey and Columbus Crew GM Mark McCullers.

The Crew and Real Salt Lake will meet in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals; the first leg of their aggregate two-game series will go Feb. 22, while most teams are in the midst of their training camps.

Unlike the UEFA Champions League, which requires teams to declare a roster at the outset of the tournament, teams in the CCL can re-declare rosters before each and every round. So, the majority of veteran, out-of-contract MLS players would be available for RSL and the Crew to use if they are selected in the draft by either of those teams.

And, midfielder Arturo Alvarez, who Real Salt Lake acquired in a trade with Portland hours after the Timbers plucked the El Salvador international from the roster of the San Jose Earthquakes in the expansion draft, would be eligible to play for RSL against Columbus.

The only exception would be Cup-tied players. So, if RSL selected anyone in the re-entry draft who was on the roster of Toronto FC, the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders or the Crew during CCL qualifiers and round-robin play, that player would be ineligible to play for RSL for the remainder of this season’s Champions League games.

Same rule, obviously, for the Crew.

It shouldn’t have a major effect on the draft, but it is food for thought. If, for example, Lagerwey had the chance to sign a player from either the Sounders or a non-CCL team, he might opt for the latter, knowing that player would be eligible for the big Feb. 22 showdown.

As agreed to in the new CBA, signed before the 2010 season, veteran players who have contract options declined go into a Re-Entry Draft, as long as they meet one of these three criteria:

Players who are at least 23 years of age, with three years of MLS experience — available at 2010 salary.

Players who are at least 25, with four years of experience — available at 2010 salary.

Players who are at least 30, with eight years of experience — available at 2010 salary, plus five per cent.

Designated Players are available; if New York does not re-up Juan Pablo Angel, who has scored more goals in MLS than any other player over the last four seasons, he is eligible for the draft, as he qualifies under the 23-3 and 25-4 clauses.

Any player not selected Dec. 8 is eligible for the second draft Dec. 15, where clubs can negotiate new salaries with the players selected.

After that, the players can be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

At 2 p.m. ET Dec. 3 (Friday), is the “Beginning of blackout period whereby Clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft-eligible players until December 9,” according to MLS rules.

Under the old system, a player whose option was declined would still have his rights held by his former MLS club. Under that system — which the union fought hard to end — if another team wanted a player, MLS would re-sign that player, and his old club would have 48 hours to match the offer from the new club. Basically, it was a right of first refusal.

If the old club didn’t sign the player, he would be placed on waivers, where the new club that wanted him — or another team — could claim him at the MLS-approved salary figure.

Generally, the player would never make it to waivers; what would happen is that the new team would offer the old team a low-round pick and trade for the player’s rights, to avoid the waiver process.

The re-entry draft is much, much simpler.

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