Expansion Draft 101

The next MLS season is right around the corner, which means Atlanta United and Minnesota United need to assemble their rosters as the two 2017 expansion teams prepare to take the field for the very first time in March. 

To help build their rosters, MLS provides the opportunity for incoming expansion teams to take part in a one-time Expansion Draft where they are able to obtain current MLS players from other teams in the league. This year’s expansion draft will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.

See below for an easy step-by-step walk through of the process.

Expansion Draft: Step-by-Step

Sunday December 11th

Current MLS teams announce 11 protected players on each of their rosters

  • Homegrown and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected and do not count towards a team’s 11
  • All of the above players are unavailable in the Expansion Draft
  • New to the 2016 Expansion Draft, Designated Players will not be automatically protected

Expansion teams receive list of unprotected (available) players

  • Atlanta United and Minnesota United evaluate and analyze list of available players to pick in Expansion Draft

Monday December 12th

List of unprotected players is released to the public

Tuesday December 13th

Expansion Draft begins at 2pmEST

Atlanta United will receive 1st pick (Minnesota United 2nd)

The 2 teams will alternate picking one player each for 5 rounds

  • By the end of the Expansion Draft, Atlanta United and Minnesota United will have selected 5 players each

Important RULES to note:

  • Teams are permitted 3 minutes each round to make their selections
  • Only one player can be drafted from any one club
  • ie. If a player from FC Dallas is selected, the rest of their roster will be off-limits for the remainder of the expansion draft

No trades are allowed during the Expansion Draft

  • Upon conclusion of the draft, trades are allowed to be made by all 22 teams.

Following the MLS Cup Final on December 10th, the upcoming MLS offseason officially begins which will see all MLS teams (existing and expansion) making roster moves for next season. Below is a timeline of important upcoming dates featuring player acquisition opportunities:

Sunday 12/11 | 9amEST: Half-Day Trade Window

Tuesday 12/13 | 2pmEST: MLS Expansion Draft

Tuesday 12/13 | 5pmEST: MLS Free Agency Begins

Thursday 12/15 | 2pmEST: MLS Waiver Draft

Friday 12/16 | 3pmEST: MLS Re-entry Process STAGE 1

Thursday 12/22 | 3pmEST: MLS Re-entry Process STAGE 2

Friday 1/13 | Time TBD: MLS SuperDraft

Learn more about all the various MLS Player Acquisition methods including roster rules and regulations here.

**Exclusive dinner with Atlanta United Staff after the Expansion Draft including Head Coach Tata Martino, Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra, and President Darren Eales
Win a spot to the dinner by entering the contest here!