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MLS 2015 Roster Freeze Deadline Primer

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Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Because MLS is MLS, it is probably a good idea to brush up on the rules surrounding today's Roster Freeze Deadline. With the transfer window long since closed, and the player trade window along with it, we likely won't see any significant activity today. But teams have until 2 p.m. PDT to make any final moves, so we may see something. Here are the impacts of today's deadline:

  • As its name suggests, teams cannot make changes to their roster (with a few small exceptions) after today's deadline.
  • Teams can still sign out-of-contract players up until the deadline. If they are still awaiting their visa or ITC, they can be placed on the official roster with the rest of their paperwork arriving later (though they cannot be selected until all the paperwork is in order).
  • Players loaned to USL or NASL have to be accommodated on the official roster by today or else they won't be eligible the rest of the season. They can remain on loan until the conclusion of the loan though. It also sounds like players can continue to be loaned down temporarily as long as they remain on the MLS team's roster.
  • Players must be activated from the DL by the deadline today or they are ineligible for the remainder of the season. The Sounders still have Andy Craven, Damion Lowe, and Andres Correa on the DL. We should know by this afternoon if we will see any of these fine fellows in MLS again in 2015.
  • While the player trade deadline has passed, teams can still make non-player trades up until today's deadline. The only reason I can imagine a team would make such a trade at this point of the season is to obtain an international roster slot to make room for a new or returning player. I guess a team like the Fire could try and swap draft picks with someone crazy like the Union, making a bet they'll eventually pass them in the standings, but that sounds like playing with fire to me.
  • Players can continue to be placed on the DL, but can only be replaced in the case of Extreme Hardship. This occurs if a team has less than 15 players available or only one available goalkeeper. Players are called up game-to-game, and make the minimum salary unless the team has additional salary cap room. If such a player appears in a playoff match, that player is cap-tied to that team for the remainder of the playoffs.
  • The trade window reopens the day after the MLS Cup.

Hopefully now you have a better idea of what might happen today. Happy Roster Freeze Deadline Day!