A new provision has been set by the MLS Board of Governors to help keep stars, particularly young American stars in Major League Soccer.
According to ESPN soccer analyst Alexi Lalas, each MLS club is allowed to tap into a new sum of money for the next three years - $250,000 to be exact - to sign three key figures to new deals without placing them into the Designated Player category.
The new initiative will help keep players at competitive salaries without hurting the club's salary cap numbers. I won't go into all the specifics of this rule because honestly, I'm still learning the details about it myself. Consider it an uptick in investment both from the league, the club and the external investors that are involved here.
Lalas revealed D.C. United (Chris Pontius), Los Angeles (Juninho), New York (Dax McCarty) and Sporting Kansas City (Matt Besler and Graham Zusi) have all used this new mechanism in its infancy. More clubs are said to be on board with using these new funds in the near future and FC Dallas will likely be one that will take a hard look at what it could mean for their roster moving forward.
Technical Director Fernando Clavijo is currently working on keeping the core group of players from this team together for the next few years. Smaller amounts of turnover typically do well in this league from year to year and he knows it. He told me earlier this spring that he has a long-term plan for the club.
So what does this new sum of money mean for FC Dallas?
In my mind it means that the club has some wiggle room for players like Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Jackson, George John, and even say Blas Perez down the road. (This is all speculation on my part, I'm not promising that these are players that would be directly used in this situation, just examples.)
Dallas has not used any of their retention funds as of today. And even the amount of allocation and extra cap space that the club had to deal with going into the season, it is very possible that they won't need to use these funds this season anyways. They do after all have two and a half years to use this salary-cap free money as they please.