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MLS unveils 2018 Expansion Draft rules

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

MLS: FC Cincinnati Signings Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

We’ve all been waiting for the other MLS expansion shoe to drop, and here it is: the rules for the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft.

This draft is marginally unique in that there’s only one club selecting; this is not unlike last year, when just LAFC selected. As a result of that situation, MLS has opted to consider the two drafts as two parts of one whole.

As such, FC Cincinnati will be selecting from the teams that did not have a player selected in the 2017 Expansion Draft — plus LAFC, who will be eligible to have a player selected.

The final list of eligible players will be made available on Dec. 10, with the draft taking place on Dec. 11.

Major rules to know include:

  • Homegrown players not on the senior roster are automatically protected
    (Justen Glad is listed on RSL’s senior roster, for context.)
  • Designated players are not automatically protected
  • Players with a no-trade clause must be protected
  • Only one player may be selected from a given team

Full rules are available from MLS Soccer.

The following dates are relevant:

  • Nov. 26, option exercise deadline — teams out of the playoffs must inform the league which options they are taking on players
  • Nov. 30, option exercise deadline (b) — teams not in MLS Cup must inform the league of said options
  • Dec. 9, 7am to 11am MST, half-day trade window
  • Dec. 9, 10am MST, option exercise deadline (c) — teams that participated in MLS Cup must inform the league of contract options they’re taking on players
  • Dec. 9, 11am MST, blackout period — no trades or signings
  • Dec. 11, 12pm MST, MLS Expansion Draft
  • Dec. 11, 1pm MST, Free Agency begins
  • Dec. 12, 2pm MST, MLS Waiver Draft
  • Dec. 14, 1pm MST, MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage One
  • Dec. 20, 12pm MST, MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage Two

We’ll have more about all of this as it gets closer.