With just 69 days left until team’s report back for preseason training (January 22, 2018), the list of offseason drafts and dates has been announced by MLS in preparation for the 2017 Expansion Draft. The Expansion Draft will finally announce the arrival of the LA Galaxy’s newest neighbor as Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) becomes the 23rd team in the league.

EXPANSION DRAFT

The Expansion Draft, set for December 12 at 11 AM PT, will see LAFC choose up to a maximum of five players from the league’s other 22 teams.

LAFC can only pick one player from each team and all Homegrown players and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected.

Designated players are not automatically protected and a club would leave them unprotected at their own risk. If the Designated Player has a no-trade clause then the team must protect them with one of their 11 protection spots.

This new format is following the 2016 Expansion Draft that brought Atlanta United and Minnesota United into the club. With each team picking a total number of five players. In previous expansion drafts, as many as 10 players were allowed to be selected by each team entering the league.

General Allocation money will be awarded to LAFC in place of the additional picks.

ADDITIONAL DRAFTS AND ROSTER DEADLINES

In addition, MLS has also released the key dates around which important information for building rosters in 2018 will be decided upon by teams and supposedly released to the public (See the Chart Below).

The Galaxy will need to release the names of players whose options they are exercising (most MLS contracts are two years with the club holding options on each player for the second year), and who are receiving bona fide offers.

The bona fide offer is important to retaining the rights to a player if they should exit the league and keeps teams from directly competing against each other. If a team makes a bona fide offer and the player rejects the offer the club would retain his rights if any team wanted to sign him. That might mean a trade between the two teams in order to acquire that player.

It’s a complicated system that rarely makes much sense but was instituted to keep the single entity system of MLS intact.

Reports have already surfaced that the Galaxy have released Homegrown players Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal, Jaime Villarreal, Nathan Smith, and Raul Mendiola. With other names expected to join that list shortly.

If one was in speculation mode, the expanded list would include all three of the Galaxy’s goalkeepers – Brian Rowe, Jon Kempin, Clement Diop – and players like Ariel Lassiter, Bradley Diallo, and Rafael Garcia among others.

With as many as 15 spots cleared from the 30-man roster, the Galaxy will be the “lucky” beneficiaries of the first pick in three of the offseason drafts and will get the second overall pick in the MLS Cup Super Draft.

They’ll pick first in the 2017 MLS Waiver Draft – consisting of players who have been waived by clubs and do not meet the minimum years of service requirement for Re-Entry draft or Free Agency – and in both stages of the Re-Entry Draft (stage 1 and stage 2)

The Re-Entry Draft will consist of players who are out of contract or have had their options declined by the club with a bunch of qualifying caveats.

  • MLS Expansion Draft Rules (CLICK)
  • Free Agency Rules (CLICK)
  • MLS Waiver Draft Rules (CLICK)
  • MLS Re-Entry Draft Rules (CLICK)

While it seems a long way off, momentum is going to start to build towards the 2017 MLS Cup and the expansion draft. The first draft of the season marks the turning point as everyone shifts their attention towards 2018 and building a competitive roster for the upcoming campaign.

For the Galaxy, it will be even more important. With the Expansion Draft unlikely to greatly affect the Galaxy, their sights must be set on outperforming their crosstown rival and getting back into a competitive position for the playoffs.

Another misstep that leads to another rebuild is just something this franchise can’t afford to mess around with.

The pressure is now on Sigi Schmid, Kurt Schmid, and the rest of the Galaxy’s front office to rebuild through these drafts and other player acquisition mechanisms to plug the holes that were left by former General Manager Pete Vagenas and to build depth across the entire squad.

Something that is much easier said than done.

If 2018 is going to be a successful year, the moves that are made in the next 45 days should begin to show us the foundation on which the “new look” Galaxy are building.

2017 OFFSEASON CALENDAR

Nov. 27------------------------------
11 AM PTOption Exercise DeadlineClubs no longer competing in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs must notify the League Office in writing of (1) players whose options they are exercising and/or (2) players who are receiving bona fide offers, announced by the teams.

All roster decisions will be publicized by the individual clubs.
Dec. 1------------------------------
10 AM PTOption Exercise Deadline for Non-MLS Cup ParticipantsNon-MLS Cup participants must notify the League Office in writing of (1) players whose options they are exercising and/or (2) players who are receiving bona fide offers, announced by the clubs.

All roster decisions will be publicized by the individual clubs.
Dec. 10------------------------------
6 AM - 10 AM PTHalf Day Trade WindowFollowing a three-month roster freeze, MLS clubs may begin making adjustments to their rosters. This is a four-hour window in which clubs may sign and trade players.

All roster moves will be publicized by the individual clubs.
9 AM PTOption Exercise Deadline for MLS Cup ParticipantsClubs that compete in MLS Cup must notify the League Office in writing of (1) players whose options they are exercising and/or (2) players who are receiving bona fide offers.

All roster decisions will be publicized by the individual clubs.
10 AM PTBlackout Period beginsBlackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade their own draft-eligible players until conclusion of Expansion Draft.
Dec. 12------------------------------
11 AM PT2017 MLS Expansion DraftWhile Generation adidas and off-budget Homegrown Players are automatically exempt, current MLS clubs may protect up to 11 players from selection in the Expansion Draft.

LAFC may select up to five players from the eligible MLS player pool. Only a single player can be drafted from any one club.

The list of players eligible for selection in Expansion Draft will be released by MLS Communications at 6 p.m. ET on Dec. 10.
1 PM PTFree Agency BeginOut of Contract and Option Decline players that were at least 28 years old during the 2017 season and have at least eight years of MLS service are eligible for Free Agency.

MLS Communications will make the complete list of Free Agents available on Dec. 10.
Dec. 13------------------------------
12:30 PM PT2017 MLS Waiver DraftConsisting of players who have been waived by clubs and do not meet minimum years of service requirement for Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency; the draft is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion LAFC picking 23rd.

The list of players eligible for selection in Waiver Draft will be released by MLS Communications at 6 p.m. ET on Dec. 12.
Dec. 15------------------------------
12 PM PT2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1The Re-Entry Draft (both stages) is conducted in reverse order of 2017 season finish, taking into account postseason performance, with expansion club LAFC selecting last.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft – Stage 1 will be released by MLS Communications at 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 14.

Eligible players include:
Option Decline Players: Players not eligible for Free Agency who will be at least 23 years old in 2017 with a minimum
of three years of MLS experience

Out of Contract Players: Players not eligible for Free Agency
who have not received a Bona Fide Offer and who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience. or are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience
Dec. 21------------------------------
11 AM PT2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft – Stage 2Stage 2 includes MLS players who were not selected in the Stage 1 draft, but not necessarily all Stage 1 players as they can re-sign with their previous club between stages; teams selecting in this stage have the right to negotiate with the player for a new contract; the format of the draft is conducted in the same manner as Stage 1.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft – Stage 2 will be released by MLS Communications at 7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 20.

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