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Attempting to Explain the Re-Entry Draft

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Making sense of the crazy MLS process that is the re-entry draft

Victor Decolongon

So I got a couple Tweets and what not about the re-entry draft and just how wholly confusing it is. So here's my attempt to explain it:

The re-entry draft was, in part, added due to a situation that happened to former(?) FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. Basically, Hartman was in a position with Kansas City where his contract had run out, the team was not interested in offering Hartman a deal, yet didn't get a trade offer for his MLS rights that they felt was fair.

So Hartman was in this limbo where he wasn't willing to sign for SKC but his club wouldn't trade his rights to another MLS team until FC Dallas finally came and rescued him.

So the re-entry draft is a mechanism for league veterans to move clubs in a league that doesn't allow out and out free agency.

From Wiki, the players who are re-entry draft eligible

Teams are able to select players who meet the following criteria:

  • Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for the next season).
  • Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not offer them a contract at their previous salary (available at previous season's salary).
  • Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105 percent of their previous season's salary).

Players with expiring contracts or options that are not renewed by their clubs who do not meet the age and service requirements necessary to be included in the Re-Entry Draft are instead available in the Waiver Draft.

So from that list, FC Dallas has Kevin Hartman, Julian de Guzman, Bruno Guarda and Scott Sealy.

In the first round of the re-entry draft which will take place on Friday, teams who select a player MUST pay their contract option for next season or make a bona fide offer(which is generally 5% higher than their previous year) to the player.

The first round is generally pretty much a non-event as only three players were selected last year - Danleigh Borman, Arturo Alvarez and Carlos Mendes.

The second round, taking place a week from Friday, is much more interesting as teams are not obligated to offer players a contract that was better than last season, but rather they must make a "genuine offer" to the player within seven days. Usually it is a deal that team, player and agent have possibly agreed to ahead of time and it's rare that a player is selected in the 2nd phase of the re-entry draft and doesn't play for that team.

Last year, 10 players were selected in the second phase of the re-entry draft, though only Marc Burch, Hunter Freeman and Clyde Simms really made an impact for the team that selected them.

Of the four FC Dallas players eligible, Kevin Hartman is really the only one at risk of being selected. You can certainly see a scenario where Hartman is taken in the second phase of the re-entry draft and goes to a team like LA. Julian de Guzman is very unlikely to be selected as he's already said he would only play for FC Dallas in MLS, and would be highly unlikely to be offered a designated player contract with another team.

It's also very important to note that a player can choose to opt out of the re-entry draft which I could see JDG doing, and players still have between now and Thursday to agree to contracts with their current teams so some names on the available player list which you can see here, may not be there on Friday.

There are a few players on the list that raise my eyebrow for FC Dallas and I'll talk about them in the next day or two.