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Ship’s Log, March 22: Big changes coming to MLS roster rules?

Homegrown Player sales could become a lot more valuable.

Last Updated
4 min read
Charis Wilson / Sounder at Heart

Rumors have been circling since the offseason that big changes were coming to MLS roster rules. So far, there’s only bee nibbling around the edges with the most notable being when a player can receive their green card and have their status as an international changed.

In recent weeks, The Athletic has reported that one of the bigger changes that had been rumored to come this last offseason – decoupling U22 roster spots from the use of Designated Player spots – may instead get implemented as early as this summer.

This week Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes hinted that even bigger changes could be afoot. He told a Kansas City radio show that new rules could allow teams far more flexibility in how they use their salary cap space.

While I like this idea – I’d love to see MLS decision-makers given more latitude with how they use their money – I looked into this and didn’t find anything that sounded like what Vermes was hinting at. I did, however, discover that there are some roster-rule changes being discussed that are pretty interesting.

  1. This U22 rule-change is almost certainly happening, it’s just a matter of when it will get announced. Teams are already operating under the assumption that they’ll be able to sign three U22s next season.
  2. There’s a possibility that teams will be allowed an additional buyout. Currently, teams are allowed one of these per season. That could be increased to two.
  3. We could see something like the NBA’s veteran exception, where teams are incentivized to keep a veteran player at a lower salary-cap hit.
  4. The amount of money a team can receive in Allocation Money from one transaction could be doubled or even tripled. As it currently stands, teams are limited to receiving about $1.2M from any one move.

Of those changes, the one that has the most potential to impact the Sounders is probably the increase in Allocation Money. As it currently stands, the incentive for teams to transfer players is mostly about cash. For a team that’s primarily focused in putting their money on the field, like the Sounders, it’s tough to justify moving a player who is contributing because they’ll likely need to spend more on that player’s replacement. But if the Allocation Money windfall is boosted to $2.5M or more, suddenly that’s a much nicer incentive and would be a massive advantage for teams who are able to regularly churn out Homegrown Players who can fetch significant transfer fees.

– Jeremiah Oshan

Catching up on Sounder at Heart

Missed the week's Puget Sound soccer news? Here are our latest stories




Weekend Washington pro soccer schedule


1:00 pm PDT - Seattle Reign travel to Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview and on NWSL+

6:00 pm PDT - Spokane Velocity host Northern Colorado Hailstorm at One Spokane Stadium and on ESPN+ and KSKN

7:05 pm PDT - Tacoma Stars host Empire Strykers at accesso ShoWare Center and on

7:30 pm PDT - Seattle Sounders travel to San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park and on MLS Season Pass


7:00 pm PDT - Tacoma Defiance host Colorado Rapids II at Starfire Stadium and on MLS Season Pass

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Looking back at the week's news

Everything else you need to know.

After beating Ballard, Velocity will host LA Force of NISA in the Second Round of the US Open Cup. The winner will face a USL Championship squad.

Meet the amateur team that beat the Timbers in the Open Cup this year.

Angelina Villalobos designed the kickass season ticket holder scarves for Sounders.

Google Deep Mind can tell coaches how to design set pieces.

The 99ers are being honored just before the current USWNT heads to Paris for the Olympics. The WNT will face Germany, Australia and one of Zambia/Morocco. The MNT are in the same group as hosts France.

The NWSL had solid numbers on ABC, but ION struggled. The good viewership numbers are part of why the NWSL is hot investment these days.

The Red Stars are hoping for a new story after the previous leadership issues.

Houston Dash fired keepers coach Matt Lampson.

CBS Power Rankings have Reign #4.

More Fishlock talking, forever please.

Reign's post-Academy team is playing in the WPSL.

Meet the next stars of the women's game.

Former Sounders Academy player Blake Malone made the USL-1 Team of the Week.

The US government is backing the plaintiff in the anti-trust trial of FIFA and USSF. The soccer warz are back.

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