In Major League Soccer (MLS), players who are not currently attached to any team must go through the discovery process for signing. This process involves each MLS team maintaining a specific list known as the "discovery list." On this list, teams can designate up to seven players for whom they have priority rights to sign ahead of other MLS teams.
According to The Athletic, Cohen remains on Atlanta United’s discovery list and was in negotiations to join them after his contract with Maccabi Haifa expired in the summer.
The 2023 MLS roster regulations further state that when another MLS club expresses interest in a player on a team's discovery list and offers $50,000 in general allocation money for the player's discovery rights, the team in possession of the player's rights must respond promptly. They are required to make a "genuine, objectively reasonable offer" to retain the player on their discovery list within a three-day timeframe. The MLS insist that Atlanta United did make an offer on those lines to Cohen.
However, Cohen's representative has asserted that Atlanta United presented an offer significantly below the market. Notably, the complaint does not provide details regarding whether another club had offered Atlanta the required allocation money as part of the deal.
The complaint mentions that the proposal offered Cohen a place on Atlanta United 2. This is the club's second team, competing in the third tier of professional soccer in the United States. Importantly, during this period, Cohen's player rights were retained by Atlanta, preventing him from engaging in negotiations with other MLS clubs despite not being under contract.
Cohen has explicitly requested that MLS take action to remove him from Atlanta's discovery list and has stipulated that there will be no future negotiations with Atlanta United.
Atlanta put out a statement to address the situation which read: "We’re aware of the complaint but, per club policy, we won’t comment on contract negotiations nor on an ongoing complaint.”
Nonetheless, Cohen retains the option to secure a contract with an overseas club at present since free agents are not constrained by transfer window deadlines.
However, if he intends to pursue a career in MLS, he'll need to exercise patience until the winter leading up to the 2024 season. This is because the roster freeze date for the 2023 season has already lapsed, necessitating the wait for the upcoming winter transfer window.