2022 MLS Expansion Draft Rules & Procedures

During the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft on Friday, Nov. 11, St. Louis CITY SC may select up to five players in preparation for their inaugural 2023 season.

Key dates:

  • Nov. 10: The list of players eligible for selection will be released by MLS Communications on Thursday, Nov. 10.
  • Nov. 11: MLS Expansion Draft: Friday, Nov.11

2022 MLS Expansion Draft Process:

  • Five Rounds: St. Louis CITY SC may select up to five players from the eligible pool of players, claiming only a single player from any one club.
  • Selection clock: St. Louis CITY SC will be permitted three minutes for each selection.
  • Timeouts: No timeouts
  • Trades: No trades are permitted during the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft.

Key parameters:

General Allocation Money (GAM):

  • Clubs that have a player selected in the Expansion Draft will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money
  • Clubs eligible for Compensatory Allocation under the CBA provision regarding bona fide offers to free agents shall not be eligible for an additional $50,000 of GAM if that player is selected in the Expansion Draft

Protected/unprotected player-related rules:

  • The following five teams that had players selected by Charlotte FC during the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, are exempt from the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft: Austin FC, Atlanta United FC, D.C. United, LAFC, New York City FC.
  • The other 23 returning MLS clubs that competed during the 2022 season can protect 12 players from their Senior and Supplemental rosters.
  • If a player’s contract expires at the end of 2022, he will still be considered part of the club’s Roster.
  • If a club protects a player, the club is not obligated to exercise the player’s option. The club may renegotiate a new contract with the player as in previous years, subject to the CBA.
  • Option Decline Free Agents and Out of Contract Free Agents not automatically protected are eligible for selection.
  • Generation adidas players who have not been graduated and Homegrown Players (players 25 years old and under in the year in which the Expansion Draft takes place) on a club’s Roster at the end of the 2022 MLS Season are automatically protected. Clubs do not have to use a protected slot on them.
  • Designated Players and other discretionary players are NOT automatically protected (i.e., clubs must choose whether to protect such players and if such player is not protected, he will be available for selection in the Expansion Draft).
  • If a player has a no-trade clause in his contract, his MLS club must protect him, and he will count as one of the 12 players who may be protected.

Retired player rules:

  • If a player retires and is not part of the Expansion Draft, his club will lose its right of first refusal to him should he ultimately decide to re-enter the league.

International player rules:

  • Clubs with four or more international players must protect at least three international players, excluding any automatically protected players. If a Club has only three international players, it must protect two. If a Club has only two international players, it must protect one. A Club that has only one international player is not required to protect that player.

Selection of Free Agents:

  • If a Free Agent is selected in the Expansion Draft, the selecting Club will be considered the player’s “current Team” for purposes of the CBA provisions regarding Free Agency and the Club from which the player was selected will be considered a new Club.
  • If the Free Agent does not sign a contract with the selecting Club, the selecting Club will be eligible for Compensatory Allocation if the selecting Club has met the requirements of the CBA provision regarding bona fide offers to free agents.

Supplemental or Reserve Roster Player:

  • If St. Louis CITY SC selects a Supplemental or Reserve Roster Player, he must occupy a Senior Roster slot for the selecting club through Roster Compliance Date of the following year.

Maximum player loss:

  • Once one player has been claimed from a club’s unprotected roster, that club is eliminated from the Expansion Draft and may not lose any further players.

Right to negotiate

St. Louis CITY SC will have the right to renegotiate a selected player’s salary (either up or down) without having to place such player on waivers or giving his previous club a right of first refusal.


For the first time with the 2016 Expansion Draft, the league changed its system as Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United were granted only five selections each, and General Allocation Money awarded to them in lieu of lost picks.

As recently as 2014, the Expansion Draft allowed for 10 players to be selected by any participating expansion clubs; in the 1997 Expansion Draft, up to 12 selections were allowed.