Ahead of their inaugural Major League Soccer campaigns, Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will take important steps in building their rosters on Nov. 19.
That is the date that the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will take place, the league announced Thursday. Both Inter Miami and Nashville will each have five picks in the draft, selecting from a pool of players left unprotected by current MLS clubs.
Additionally, the expansion sides will decide who gets the first pick in the expansion draft and the 2020 MLS SuperDraft – which pulls players from the college ranks – on Oct. 6, the final day of the MLS regular season, also known as “Decision Day.”
In the 2019 Expansion Priority Draft that day, a coin toss will determine which club gets the first pick of five player-acquisition methods. The available options are the No. 1 pick in the expansion draft, the No. 1 pick in the SuperDraft, the No. 1 position in allocation ranking, the penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and the end of season waiver order, or the penultimate position in discovery player rankings.
The 2019 Expansion Priority Draft will take place in midtown Manhattan, New York at 3 p.m. EST on Oct. 6. For Inter Miami, managing owner Jorge Mas and sporting director Paul McDonough will be present. For Nashville, CEO Ian Ayre and general manager Mike Jacobs will represent the club.
Both Nashville and Miami will each have five picks in the expansion draft on Nov. 19. The list of players available for selection will be released on Nov. 16. Each MLS club may protect 12 players for the expansion draft.
“The Expansion Draft plays a major role in roster construction,” Jacobs said in a statement from Nashville SC. “All teams will have a balance of players with experiences both domestically here in the U.S. as well as players abroad, and the potential of adding key personnel with practical experience from within our league is critical for a club’s success.”
D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Houston Dynamo and the New York Red Bulls will be exempt from the draft, as each club had players selected by 2019 expansion side FC Cincinnati in the previous expansion draft.
Notable former expansion draft selections include Latif Blessing, Tyler Miller, Darren Mattocks and Sébastien Le Toux. Blessing has 11 goals and 11 assists while Miller has 19 clean sheets since being selected by LAFC in 2017, Mattocks has turned into a solid contributor for FC Cincinnati, and Le Toux went on to notch 50 goals and 50 assists for the Philadelphia Union after being drafted by the club in 2009.
Teams have also been able to trade expansion selections for other assets. In 2016, for example, Atlanta United FC sent top expansion draft pick Donny Toia to Orlando City SC for the No. 8 pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. That turned into Julian Gressel, an instrumental player who has helped the Five Stripes capture three cups.