Spencer and Wilkinson

MLS 101: MLS Expansion Draft and Allocation Money

As Wednesday’s MLS Expansion Draft draws near, MLS 101 examines the processes and procedures for the 10-round draft that will deliver the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps their next set of players. With today's trades, we also provide some information in regards to Allocation Money. Log on to portlandtimbers.com Wednesday for extensive draft coverage beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific

In preparation for the draft, current MLS clubs may protect 11 players between their Senior and Developmental Rosters. If the Player’s contract expires at the end of 2010, he will still be considered part of the club’s Senior Roster.

Each of the 16 current MLS clubs had until today to submit a list of 11 protected players (lists will be announced today at 2 p.m. Pacific at MLSSoccer.com). Then, on Wednesday, Portland and Vancouver will each select 10 players from the list of over 175 available players with alternating picks.

Once a player is selected, his former team can protect one additional player. Then, all the players not among the 12 protected are again subject to selection. Once a team loses a second player, its remaining roster is ineligible to be selected. In other words, no team can lose more than two players.

Official MLS Expansion Draft Rules

In prior MLS Expansion Drafts, incoming franchises have been able to scoop up key players in advance of their debut seasons. Below are some notable names who have changed teams through previous drafts:

1997: Chicago Fire/Miami Fusion
CHI drafts GK Kevin Hartman from LA
CHI drafts GK Zach Thornton from NY/NJ

2004: Chivas USA/Real Salt Lake
RSL drafts former Timbers FW Chris Brown from SJ

2006: Toronto FC
TOR drafts FW Nate Jaqua from CHI
TOR drafts MF Jason Kreis from RSL
TOR drafts GK Will Hesmer from KC

2007: San Jose Earthquakes
SJ drafts DF Clarence Goodson from FCD
SJ drafts MF James Riley from NE

2008: Seattle Sounders
SEA drafts FW Nate Jaqua from HOU
SEA drafts MF Peter Vagenas from LA
SEA drafts MF Brad Evans from CLB

2009: Philadelphia Union
PHI drafts FW Sebastien Le Toux from SEA
PHI drafts FW Alejandro Moreno from CLB
PHI drafts MF Shea Salinas from SJ

The Timbers also made some trades today: one for New York Red Bulls' Jeremy Hall and one involving acquiring an international player slot from L.A. Galaxy for allocation money. What, exactly, is allocation money? According to the most recent MLS Regulations, allocation money is handled thusly:

Each year the MLS Competition Committee determines the allocation amount to be made available to each team. Allocation money can be traded by teams. Allocation money does not count against a team's salary budget and can be used:

• To sign players new to MLS (that is, a player who did not play in MLS during the previous season). 
• To re-sign an existing MLS player, with League approval. 
• In connection with the exercise of an option to purchase a player's rights or the extension of a player's contact for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year.

Allocation money cannot otherwise be used to buy down the salary budget number of players already under contract to the League, nor can allocation money be used to buy down the budget number of a Designated Player.