July 1 is traditionally one of the biggest days of the MLS season for GMs and technical directors.
As of midnight July 1, all semi-guaranteed contracts became guaranteed, meaning a player is on a club's books for good through the remainder of the 2010 season.
"As of today, everyone on an MLS club roster is under a guaranteed contract," said Lino DiCuollo, Vice President of Player Relations and Competition.
In recent days a number of players including Ramon Sanchez (San Jose), Christian Castillo (DC United), Maicon Santos (Chivas USA) and Sergio Herrera (Columbus) were released by their clubs in advance of the July 1 date.
"If other clubs are interested in these players, then subject to the new CBA rules, these players may re-sign with MLS and be assigned to a new club via the waiver process," DiCuollo said. "Under the new CBA, in many cases, clubs no longer maintain a right of first refusal when they release a player, and thus cannot request any consideration from another club that may be interested in those players."
If another MLS club is interested in one of the above players, MLS may sign the player and place him through a formal waiver draft with a predetermined selection order.
DiCuollo pointed out two other major differences of the guaranteed contract deadline under the new CBA.
First, developmental players can no longer be released at any time during a season. Their contracts used to be non-guaranteed, meaning they could face the axe at any point during the league season. That is no longer the case, and their contracts have also become guaranteed on July 1.
Under the previous CBA clubs could also extend the semi-guaranteed contract status of up to two players on their roster from July 1 to Sept. 15, when rosters are frozen. This allowed teams to release these two players at any time after July 1 and before Sept. 15.
MLS clubs can now only extend the semi-guaranteed status of a single player. And that extension only runs until August 1.
DiCuollo confirmed that there were a handful of players who signed this extension this season.
Should any MLS club seek to part ways with a player after their contract becomes guaranteed, it can only happen via termination by mutual agreement.