MLS adds new roster spots and money for homegrown players

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The league has instituted new rules to encourage its teams to bring in players from their academies.

Major League Soccer has announced its roster rule changes for the 2017 season with a big focus on encouraging homegrown signings.

The league has added two off-budget roster spots specifically for homegrown players. In addition, teams are permitted to use up to $200,000 of their targeted allocation money to sign homegrown players to their initial professional deals.

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“Youth development continues to be a key strategic priority for MLS,” MLS Executive Vice President of Competition and Player Relations Todd Durbin said in a press release. “These two changes allow greater flexibility for our clubs, as the two additional roster spots give our clubs the ability to sign a greater number of promising young players, while the use of Targeted Allocation Money on new Homegrown Players gives them more financial resources to help retain that top talent.”

The league also tweaked its interleague loan rules, allowing players who are loaned during the first MLS transfer window (Feb. 14- May 8) to be recalled during the secondary window (July 10- Aug. 9).

Other rule changes include:

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—The Extreme Hardship threshold will include situations where a team has less than four available outfield substitutes.

—Targeted allocation funds can be used to sign Special Discovery Players, which are players whose transfer/loan fee and salary are spread out over the entirety of the contract.

The MLS cap for 2017 will be $3.845 million. That includes players who take up roster spots 1-20 on an MLS roster. Off-budget players in roster spots 21-24 are required to be paid a minimum of $65,000 while spots 25-28 will make a minimum of $53,000.

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