MLS NEXT Pro has announced its roster guidelines for the inaugural 2022 season, which is set to begin in late March 2022.
2022 MLS NEXT PRO ROSTER COMPOSITION
An MLS NEXT Pro club’s active roster consists of up to 35 players, all of whom are selectable for any official game during the MLS NEXT Pro season.
24 roster slots (1-24) can be filled with professional players. These roster slots include international and domestic players as well as loan players.
11 roster slots (25-35) can be filled with amateur players. A maximum of five (5) MLS NEXT Youth Academy players per team may be on the pitch during an official match.
A player is eligible as an amateur (academy) player if:
- he is under 21 years old before the official start of the season,
- he has not participated in any college or university football program,
- he has never been signed or recognized as a professional player as defined by the NCAA or FIFA, and
- He currently plays or previously played for the club’s MLS NEXT academy or for a team that has documented affiliation with the club.
There is no salary cap in MLS NEXT Pro and there are no salary limits on player compensation (ie there is no minimum or maximum salary). Additionally, there are no age limits on players and clubs can sign players directly to an MLS NEXT Pro agreement as detailed above.
2022 PLAN COMPLIANCE, PLAN FREEZE, TRANSFER WINDOW DATES AND POST-SEASON TRAINING
SCHEDULE COMPLIANCE DATE
All clubs must comply with MLS NEXT Pro Roster guidelines by March 18, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
No changes may be made to a club’s roster from the Roster Freeze Date until the day after the last MLS NEXT Pro game. The roster freeze date will be announced on the competition calendar.
TRANSMISSION WINDOW DATA
- Primary transfer window: February 10, 2022 – May 4, 2022
- Secondary transfer window: July 7, 2022 – August 4, 2022
All players enter into a contract with the MLS NEXT Pro Club and clubs provide/sign all supporting documents to the league office.
Each club decides whether a contract includes option years.
US based clubs: For US clubs, a domestic player is either a US citizen, permanent resident (i.e., green card holder), or holder of some other special status (e.g., refugee or asylum status). Players who obtain permanent U.S. residency while employed by an MLS NEXT Pro Club are considered domestic players if such residency is maintained by the opening of the secondary transfer window in 2022 (i.e., by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 6). July) granted , 2022) and until the roster fulfillment date in 2023 and beyond. There is no limit to the number of US players in a US club’s roster.
Clubs based in Canada: For Canadian clubs, a domestic player is either a Canadian citizen, Canadian permanent resident or holder of some other special status (e.g. refugee or asylum status) or a US player. For players who obtain permanent residency in the United States or Canada while employed by an MLS NEXT Pro Club, if such residency is granted, the player will be considered a domestic player for a Canadian club until the secondary transfer window opens in Year 2022 (d 11:59 p.m. ET on July 6, 2022) and through the roster compliance date in 2023 and beyond. There is no limit to the number of US or Canadian players in a Canadian club’s roster.
Each US MLS NEXT Pro Club has seven (7) roster spots for international players. Any player who does not qualify as a US international for a US club is considered an international player and must fill an international roster slot in that US club’s roster for the remainder of the year. However, if an international player obtains a US green card by the time the secondary transfer window opens in 2022 (i.e., by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 6, 2022), he will not be eligible to fill an international roster spot; However, if an international player receives a green card on July 7, 2022, they will occupy an international roster slot for the remainder of 2022.
Each Canadian MLS NEXT Pro Club has seven (7) roster spots for international players. Any player who does not qualify as a US national player or Canada international is considered an international player and must occupy an international roster slot on a Canadian club’s roster. Therefore, a US player at a Canadian club is considered a Canada international for roster purposes and does not occupy an international roster slot. If an international player is granted Canadian permanent residence until the opening of the secondary transfer window in 2022 (i.e., by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 6, 2022), he/she may not occupy an international roster slot; However, if an international player is granted permanent residency in Canada on July 7, 2022, they will occupy an international roster slot for the remainder of 2022.
TRADE IN INTERNATIONAL ROSTER SLOTS
International roster slots can be traded subject to a specified period of time and approved by the league office.
- International roster slots can be traded, although roster slots must return/expire at the end of a NEXT Pro Season.
- For trades, there is no limit to the number of International Roster Slots an MLS NEXT Pro Club may have in a season.
LIST OF INJURED
If a player suffers an injury that prohibits them from playing at least five (5) MLS NEXT Pro games, a club may request the injured player to be placed on the injured list by submitting the Online Injury List/End of Season Injury Request via email MLS NEXT Pro Connect and may replace that player on their roster with a substitute. Any player placed on the injured list will be unavailable for at least 5 MLS NEXT Pro games and will not be allowed to participate in tournaments and exhibitions with their MLS NEXT Pro Club (including Concacaf Champions League, Canadian Championship and US Open Cup) during that period ).
MATCHDAY LIST DEADLINES
A player must be added to a club roster by 8:00pm ET on the last business day prior to an MLS NEXT Pro game in order to be included in an official MLS NEXT Pro game roster. For example, if an MLS NEXT Pro game is played on a Sunday, the roster deadline is 8:00 p.m. ET on the Friday before the game.