MLS Allocation Ranking (as of August 16, 2011)

MLS Allocation Ranking (as of August 16, 2011)

  1. Chivas USA
  2. Houston
  3. Toronto
  4. Chicago
  5. Sporting KC
  6. Seattle
  7. Columbus
  8. New York
  9. Real Salt Lake
  10. San Jose
  11. LA
  12. Dallas
  13. Colorado
  14. Vancouver
  15. Portland
  16. DC
  17. New England
  18. Philadelphia


The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee. The allocation rankings may also be used in the event two or more clubs file a request for the same player on the same day. The allocations will be ranked in reverse order of finish for the 2010 season, taking playoff performance into account.

Once the club uses its allocation ranking to acquire a player, it drops to the bottom of the list. A ranking can be traded, provided that part of the compensation received in return is another club’s ranking. At all times, each club is assigned one ranking. The rankings reset at the end of each MLS League season.

Allocation Money
Allocation money is a resource available to clubs in addition to their respective salary budgets.

A club may receive allocation money for:

  1. failure to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs;
  2. the transfer of a player to a club outside of MLS for value;
  3. expansion status;
  4. qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League;

Each year the MLS Competition Committee determines the allocation amount to be made available to each club. Allocation money can be traded by clubs. Allocation money does not count against a club’s salary budget and can be used:

  • To sign players new to MLS (that is, a player who did not play in MLS during the previous season).
  • To re-sign an existing MLS player, subject to League approval.
  • To “buy-down” a player’s salary budget charge below the League maximum of $335,000.
  • In connection with the exercise of an option to purchase a player’s rights or the extension of a player’s contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year.

NOTE: To protect the interests of MLS and its clubs during discussions with prospective players or clubs in other leagues, amounts of allocation money held by each club will not be shared publicly. (Similarly, most clubs in other countries do not announce the amount of money they plan to spend during a given transfer window.)

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