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MLS Offseason Guide: Seattle Sounders Will Stay Busy

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This being the third MLS offseason in the Seattle Sounders' history, you'd like to think we are starting to get the hang of this thing. We've been through enough expansion, re-entry and super drafts to the know that there really is no such thing as an offseason.

The first big date is on Tuesday (Nov 8th)when the Sounders learn their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal opponent. The next big day is Nov. 21, the day after the MLS Cup final, when the Sounders must submit their finalized expansion protection list. From there, it's mostly a series of drafts, the first of which is the Expansion Draft on Nov. 23 and finishing off with Supplemental Draft on Jan. 17. In all, there will be six offseason drafts.

The Sounders will finally return to action sometime between March 6-8 when the first leg of the CCL quarterfinals is held. The 2012 MLS season is also rumored to be starting that same week, greatly diminishing the chance the Sounders will host a fourth straight First Kick.

For a list of important dates in the Sounders' offseason, be sure to check the jump.

Tuesday: 2011-12 CCL quarterfinals draw. Sounders will open against Los Angeles Galaxy, Santos Laguna or Pumas UNAM.

Nov. 21: Teams submit finalized list of protected players for Expansion Draft. Each team can protect up to 11 players, exempting Generation Adidas and Homegrown players.

Nov. 21: Allocation order resets. Sounders will be 15th.

Nov. 23: Expansion Draft held. Montreal Impact select 10 players, with no more than 1 coming from each team.

Nov. 23: Waiver Draft held. Player released by teams can be selected by other teams with the order determined by the reverse order of the standings.

Dec. 5: Re-Entry Draft, Stage 1. Players can choose to enter this draft if they fail to come to contract terms with their current teams and meet certain experience standards. Selecting teams are bound by various contractual obligations to the players. (explanation here)

Dec. 12: Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2. Players that go unselected in Stage 1 are eligible here, the difference being that selecting teams can negotiate new contracts.

Jan. 1: The first of the international transfer windows open.

Jan. 12: MLS SuperDraft. Two rounds long. Sounders will select 15th.

Jan. 17: MLS Supplemental Draft. Four rounds long.

March 6-8: First leg of CCL quarterfinals.

March 8: Rumored date of MLS First Kick.