While Major League Soccer clubs can complete transactions among themselves outside the primary and secondary transfer windows, they can generally only acquire players from abroad during specific dates.
There is some overlap between MLS' transfer windows and those in Europe, but it's not an exact alignment as competition calendars are fundamentally different.
GOAL explains when MLS' transfer window opens and closes, and how it works...
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When is MLS transfer window 2023?
The first MLS transfer window of 2023, when players can be bought from other leagues, runs from January 31 to April 24.
There is an additional MLS transfer window that goes from July 5 to August 2.
These windows are when juicy designated player additions that exceed salary cap restrictions often take place.
How do MLS transfer windows work?
MLS teams can put players in foreign leagues on a "discovery list" that essentially reserves future signing rights. They may have up to seven players on the list at any time and are free to add or remove players as they choose.
In true MLS fashion, there can be chaos involved when more than one club tries to add a player to their discovery list at the same time. In the case of requests filed on the same day, the club with the lowest points-per-game in the current MLS Regular Season (all clubs must have played a minimum of three regular season games) will have the priority right to sign the player.
Clubs can also exchange discovery list player priority for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.