MLS launches U22 Initiative to support further investment in young players

Major League Soccer has announced a new initiative for players under the age of 22 in an effort to continue to foster the growth of young players and decrease roadblocks for clubs interested in signing them.

The U22 Initiative allows MLS clubs to sign up to three young players, age 22 and younger, to lucrative contracts at a reduced budget charge, decreasing the risk associated with acquiring or retaining players who are still approaching their prime.

The rule provides enhanced opportunities for Homegrown signings and SuperDraft picks, as well as players who hail from outside the United States and Canada and are signing their first MLS contract.

How it works

  • MLS clubs can now sign up to three players under the age of 22 to lucrative contracts, and at a reduced budget charge
  • Players can occupy the U22 initiative slot through the season they turn 25 years old


  • International players are eligible when they sign their first MLS contract
  • Homegrown players are eligible on either their first or second contract
  • SuperDraft picks, meanwhile, are eligible for the initiative on their second MLS contract.

For a full breakdown of the U22 Initiative, check out MLS' 2021 roster rules and regulations.