The 2015 roster rules finally (finally!) came out today, and we've taken a look at them and broken out some highlights. There's something for everyone, from the salary cap and the allocation process to homegrown players.
Salary cap and salary miniums
- In line with previously reported numbers, the salary cap sits at $3.49 million, and it's only players 1-20 on the roster that count against it.
- The maximum budget charge for a player is $436,250.
- The minimum salary is $50,000, which is for players 25-28; the minimum for players 21-25 is $60,000.
- The only players allowed to make $50,000 are those are under 25 by the end of 2015.
Roster size and makeup
- Rosters may be made up of 28 players.
- Domestic players are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and holders of other special status, like refugee or asylum status.
- Only players on a "single fixed and public" list are subject to the allocation process. That's the Allocation Ranking List, and the way in which those players are acquired doesn't seem to have changed.
- Players that can be on that list: Select U.S. national team players, select U.S. youth national team players, and players who have been transferred outside of MLS for at least $500,000.
- Up to seven players may be placed on discovery lists, which is down from 2014 — there were 12. A press release says that "reduction is intended to encourage clubs to add to their lists only players they intend to sign."
- Discovery lists do not reset at the end of the season.
- Some players are exempt from the discovery process.
- SuperDraft eligible players — so U.S. youth national team players, college players, and college-eligible players.
- Homegrown players
- College protected players (players selected in the draft that didn't sign with MLS)
- Players formerly on rosters that clubs attempted but were unable to re-sign following contract expiration; or players that were on the team's discovery list that they attempted to and were unable to sign. Clubs retain a right of first refusal on those players.
- Players formerly on MLS clubs that have been waived.
- If two or more clubs try to add the same player to a discovery list, priority goes to the club that filed the claim first. If they're filed on the same day, it falls to the club with the lowest points-per-game average.
- If a team wants to sign a player from another team's discovery list, they can offer $50,000 to that team. The team receiving the offer must either accept the $50,000 allocation money, or make a "genuine, objectively reasonable" offer for the player.
- Special discovery players: For one player on the roster, the club may amortize acquisition costs over the life of the player's contract, but not more than the maximum salary budget charge.
- The salary charge for a designated player is $436,250. If the player joins after the summer transfer window, the charge is $218,125.
- Under-20 designated players are a $150,000 charge; under-23s are $200,000.
- You can still buy a third designated player spot, but you still do not need to buy one for a player 23 years old and younger.
- This means Joao Plata falls under that $200,000 mark.
- Clubs can sign a player to his first professional contract as a homegrown player. They must have been a member of the club's youth academy for at least one year, and they have to have "met the necessary training and retention requirements.," whatever those are.
- There is no indication in the rules that homegrown players do not count against the salary cap.
- Players loaned to another MLS club must be 24 years or younger when the loan starts.
- A club may only loan one player per season, and it must be initiated during either transfer window.
- The player must remain with the new club for the rest of the MLS season.
- The player can't compete against his former club.
- Intraleague loans can have an option to make it permanent.