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MLS Re-Entry draft: Eligible players, rules and more

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The next phase of the Major League Soccer offseason occurs Friday afternoon.

Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft begins at 3 p.m. ET with the San Jose Earthquakes in possession of the first pick after having the worst record from the 2018 season. Players become eligible for the re-entry draft in a few ways, according to league rules:

  1. Players at least 23 years old with a minimum of three years MLS experience whose contract options were not exercised by their clubs. They will be available at their option salary for 2019.
  2. Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years MLS experience who are out of contract and their respective clubs do not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary. They are available for at least their 2018 salary.
  3. Free agents who choose to participate.

Players may choose to opt out of the draft, and players not selected in Stage 1 will be available for Stage 2 at 2 p.m. ET Dec. 20. 

If a player is selected in Stage 1, teams must exercise the player’s contract option or extend a “Bona Fide Offer” if the player is out of contract. If a player rejects the offer, the drafting club will hold that player’s right of first refusal in MLS.

If a player is selected in Stage 2, teams can negotiate new contracts. The drafting team must make a genuine offer to a player within seven days.

Any players not selected will be available first-come, first-serve to all clubs.

Ashley Cole and David Villa are the two standout names on the Re-Entry list, but it’s unlikely either of them is selected because of Cole’s high salary and Villa already announcing his move to Japan.

Some of the intriguing options eligible for selection include New York City FC midfielder Tommy McNamara, Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts, Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik and D.C. United’s Nick DeLeon.

In 2017, two players were selected in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft, and one of them, Mike Grella, is eligible for the selection process again in 2018. 

The majority of teams usually pass on their selections, but there have been some success stories out of the Re-Entry Draft, with FC Dallas’ selection of Maxi Urruti in 2015 being the most recent. 

Players Eligible For Re-Entry Draft

Chicago Fire: Jonathan Campbell, Drew Conner, Michael de Leeuw, Christian Dean, Patrick McLain, Luis Solignac 

Columbus Crew: Mike Grella, Adam Jahn

Colorado Rapids: Giles Barnes, Enzo Martinez, Jack McBean

FC Dallas: Maynor Figueroa

D.C. United: Vytas Andriuskevicius, Nick DeLeon, Kevin Ellis, Jared Jeffrey, Taylor Kemp, Kofi Opare, Travis Worra

Houston Dynamo: Luis Gil, Dylan Remick, Jared Watts

LAFC: Dejan Jakovic, Charlie Lyon, Calum Mallace, Quillan Roberts

LA Galaxy: Ashley Cole, Ariel Lassiter, Brian Sylvestre

Minnesota United: Matt Lampson, Johan Venegas

Montreal Impact: Louis Beland-Goyette, Kyle Fisher, Michael Salazar

New England Revolution: Femi Hollinger-Janzen

New York City FC: Tommy McNamara, Andre Rawls, David Villa 

New York Red Bulls: Carlos Rivas 

Orlando City: Joe Bendik, Earl Edwards Jr., Richie Laryea, Donny Toia, Jose Villarreal

Philadelphia Union: Fabinho, John McCarthy, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro 

Portland Timbers: Steve Clark, Lawrence Olum

Real Salt Lake: Luke Mulholland, Taylor Peay, Demar Phillips, Luis Silva, Stephen Sunday

Seattle Sounders: Calle Brown 

Toronto FC: Clint Irwin, Tosaint Ricketts

Vancouver Whitecaps: Jose Aja, Aaron Maund, Brian Rowe

Unattached: Wandrille Lefevre 

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