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Expansion Draft is coming

MLS has published rules for the 2018 Expansion Draft

FC Cincinnati Announcement With MLS Commissioner Don Garber Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

MLS has announced its annual end-of-year draft bonanza, most of which can be expected to affect the New York Red Bulls not at all. RBNY is not historically much interested in participating in the Waiver Draft (December 12, this year), or the league’s Re-Entry Drafts (December 14 and 20 in 2018). But there will no avoiding the first and foremost of this year’s drafts: the 2018 Expansion Draft on December 11.

FC Cincinnati joins MLS in 2019. Unlike the league’s last expansion team - LAFC - Cincinnati already exists: the team just completed the best-ever regular season in USL history. Nonetheless, expansion teams get Expansion Drafts - an opportunity to stock there rosters with a few players their fellow MLS clubs are willing to risk losing.

Since there was an Expansion Draft last year - for LAFC’s entry to MLS - this year’s draft will excuse those teams that lost players in the 2017 exercise. That means no participation in the 2018 Expansion Draft for Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew, or Toronto FC. LAFC will be required to participate, meaning FC Cincinnati will have players from 18 MLS teams to choose from - including RBNY.

The rules of this year’s Expansion Draft are much the same as they were last year:

  • Each club can protect 11 players and will only lose one unprotected player (if any) to FC Cincinnati in the Expansion Draft
  • Generation Adidas players and Homegrown players on a club’s Supplemental or Reserve Rosters will be automatically protected and don’t count against the quota of 11 protected players
  • Designated Players are not automatically protected.Players with a no-trade clause in their contract are not automatically protected, but clubs must protect them.
  • Clubs are only allowed to offer a limited number of international players to the Expansion Draft: the number permitted is the total number of international players on a club’s roster minus three. In RBNY’s case that means the team can leave a maximum of five international players exposed to FC Cincinnati.

For other details regarding the Expansion Draft, click here.

RBNY won’t necessarily lose any players at all to expansion: FC Cincinnati only gets to pick five players total, and only one from any one club. Teams that lose a player in the draft will get $50,000 in General Allocation Money in compensation.

The lists of protected/unprotected players should be published by December 10. The Expansion Draft is scheduled for 12:00 pm, Eastern, on Tuesday, December 11. MLS will live-stream the event.