Media Resources

2019 MLS Free Agency Rules & Procedures

Fifteen days after the 2019 MLS Cup, teams can begin engaging with players via the league’s Free Agency process in preparation for the 2020 season. Eligible players are 
28 years of age
and older
eight MLS service years
 and are out of contract – or have had their option declined. This allows players the freedom to negotiate a new contract with any MLS club, including their previous team, subject to certain restrictions.
A player has fulfilled one year of service if he was on a club’s roster 
prior to Aug. 30
 or played in at least one regular season or postseason game in the relevant year, subject to USL loan exceptions.
Key Dates:
Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. ET
, the list of all Option-Decline and Out-of-Contract players who are eligible for Free Agency is distributed to all clubs.
MLS Communications will make the available the complete list of Free Agents on
Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. ET
Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. ET
, clubs may engage players – other than their own – who are eligible for Free Agency.

  • Option Exercise Deadline on Nov. 21, 5 p.m. ET: Clubs 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.

Key Parameters:
Teams can acquire 
no more than two Out of Contract players
 via Free Agency in a given year.
Out of Contract Players
 who receive a bona fide offer from his current team can still participate in Free Agency.
Option Decline Players
 may re-sign with their current team at any compensation subject to league approval in its discretion at any time prior to the beginning of Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft (Dec. 3 at 3pm ET).
MLS Free Agency was first implemented following the 2015 season, with 28 players eligible to negotiate new contracts with any of the 20 clubs that competed that year.
The first Free Agency class was highlighted by Toronto FC’s acquisition of defender 
Drew Moor
 (formerly of the Colorado Rapids), who has been an important component to TFC’s run to the 2016 MLS Cup and an MLS points record and Supporters’ Shield in 2017.
Following the 2016 season, for the league’s second Free Agency group, expansion Atlanta United prepped for their 2017 debut with the acquisitions of veteran midfielder 
Jeff Larentowicz
 and forward 
Jacob Peterson
 as pieces who helped Atlanta advance to the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.