Inter Miami CF

What you need to know for the 2020 MLS Expansion Priority Draft on Sunday

MIAMI, Fla. (October 3, 2019) – The 2020 MLS Expansion Priority Draft will take place on October 6. 

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami and Nashville SC will participate in a coin toss on Sunday to determine the order in which the clubs will participate in five different roster-building mechanisms, the Expansion Draft, the MLS SuperDraft, the Allocation Ranking Order, MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order as well as the Discovery Player Ranking. 

The winner of the coin toss will select which of the processes they would like to have the first pick in, alternating selections until each of the five methods of roster-building have all been chosen. 

“You’re trying to look at all the different mechanisms, your international spots, your roster positions, your money, your free agents, your expansion draft picks and you’re trying to see best how to build the deepest squad you can,” Sporting Director Paul McDonough said. “We’ve been preparing. Thinking on who could be available and how they would fit into our team. What would be a win for us is that we come out with a mix of players and assets that can help us continue to build the squad.”

What do these five, individual roster-building mechanisms mean?

• The MLS Expansion Draft

Inter Miami CF will have the opportunity to select up to five players from other MLS rosters to join its own. The list of available players will exclude the 12 protected players

Each MLS clubs selects, as well as Homegrown players, which are player clubs signed from their Development Academy, and Generation adidas players, which is a program designed to give select promising underclassmen and youth national team players a route to go professional. Players in the program are signed to MLS deals before the SuperDraft, do not count against MLS teams' salary budget and are provided additional incentives for their personal development outside the sport.

Only one player from any given team may be selected in the Expansion Draft.  All players from D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, and New York Red Bulls will automatically be protected as each of those clubs had a player selected by FC Cincinnati in last year’s Expansion Draft. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will alternate picks in the draft. 

“We know we need MLS experience to be successful,” said McDonough. “It’s important for us to find those guys who can fill certain needs within the starting eleven or immediate depth of the squad as we look to build a competitive roster.”

List of Players Taken in Previous Expansion Drafts

• The MLS SuperDraft

The MLS SuperDraft is an annual player draft in which every MLS franchise has the ability to select individuals from a pool of players who are new to the league. The pool consists of players from the collegiate system. There are four rounds in the SuperDraft; in each round each team has one pick unless a pick has previously been traded. MLS expansion teams (Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC this year) receive the first picks in the draft, followed by each team that did not qualify for the previous year’s playoffs in reverse order of their total points accrued. Those teams are then followed by groups of teams that were eliminated in the same round of the playoffs, also in order of fewest points accrued in the previous regular season. 

“Hopefully we pick someone that impacts the roster really significantly in year one,” said McDonough. “For me in Orlando it was Cyle Larin and in Atlanta it was Julian Gressel. And we also picked Miles Robinson in Atlanta, which didn’t help in year one but helped in year two. So, I think that if we can find someone that can help us in year one that would be really good for the depth that we’re building for the club.”

• Allocation Ranking Order

The Allocation Process is a method by which MLS teams can acquire specific players. The Allocation Ranking List consists only of certain U.S. Men’s National Team Players, top youth U.S. National Team players, and former MLS players who left the league for fees greater than $500,000. The Allocation Ranking Order determines the order in which MLS clubs have priority to claim players from the Allocation Ranking List. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will top the Allocation Ranking Order followed by the rest of the league in reverse order of the standings at the end of the MLS season (like the SuperDraft). 

“It’s valuable to teams in the league because it’s usually bringing back a US international or someone who has done well in the league and has gone overseas but then is coming back,” said McDonough. “So, there’s usually a lot of value sometimes to the team that holds it, but even moreso as a trade chip for teams to maybe take that asset and move it to get a player and other assets to continue to help.”

List of Players Currently Eligible for the Allocation Ranking List

• MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order

MLS Re-Entry Draft is a process where teams are able to select out-of-contract MLS players who qualify under specific guidelines. The list of available players includes only those that have a minimum of three years of MLS experience and are at least 23 years old and had options that were not exercised by their previous clubs, players with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are at least 25 years old and did not receive a contract offer at their previous salary from their former club and are out of contract, and free agents who wish to participate. If a club picks a player and that player rejects the offer, the club will then hold the Right of First Refusal for that player in MLS. The order in which teams are able to select players in the Re-Entry Draft is determined similarly to the SuperDraft, but expansion clubs (Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC) pick last.  

The year-end Waiver Draft is reserved for players whose contracts expired or had options declined and do not meet the age or service requirements for the Re-Entry Draft. The structure is otherwise the same, including the determining factors for the order in which teams pick. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will also have the last two picks in the Waiver Draft. 

• Discovery Player Ranking

Each MLS team composes a Discovery List which consists of up to seven players who are not yet under contract to MLS and do not qualify for one of the other roster-building mechanisms. A club may sign a player from its Discovery List if it has been submitted to the league and there is no conflict between two clubs attempting to add the same player to their list. If there is a conflict, the club that filed their list first will have priority, but if they filed on the same day then they will be sorted in reverse order of points accrued. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC will have the last two positions in the Discovery Player Ranking.