Eligible player pool expanded for MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas


Major League Soccer today announced an expansion of the eligible player pool for the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, starting when the 2024 version is held December 19 (3 pm ET).

For the first time in MLS history, the list of players eligible for selection includes a broader range of promising young talent:

  • Players who are currently collegiate sophomores, juniors and above.
  • Previously, only players who were collegiate seniors and above, along with Generation adidas signings, were eligible for selection.
  • College players will also still be able to sign Generation adidas contracts (freshmen and above).

"We've seen so many changes and improvements with player development, academies, the clubs – all across the board there's been growth in MLS," Alecko Eskandarian, Senior Director, Player Relations, told "The draft had been the one thing that stayed stagnant, and knowing first-hand after coming through the draft myself, it was a much-needed area of improvement.

"The player pool remaining status quo was actually detrimental to player development, so the way we look at is broadening these eligibility parameters, it's a win-win-win from the league standpoint, a college program standout and, most importantly, a player standpoint."

Maintaining eligibility & SuperDraft Priority

A player who is drafted by an MLS club and has remaining college eligibility will have the option to return to school and further their development, but will not be draft-eligible in the future.

A selected player who elects to go back to college or remains unsigned will have their SuperDraft Priority held by the drafting club for approximately two years following the SuperDraft, culminating on December 31 of the second year.

A player with remaining college eligibility who appears on the draft-eligible list but is not selected in the SuperDraft may return to school and can be nominated for the following year's draft.

"You're going to have more collaboration with professional clubs and college programs where kids who are in a good environment, are pursuing a degree, they now have a longer runway to transition into a pro player pathway," Eskandarian said. "And for our clubs, it's the ability to scout and get players at a younger age who are ready to make that jump. It's a win all around."

Full eligible player pool

MLS clubs may draft players from a list of eligible players that may include:

  1. Players who are collegiate sophomores and above
  2. Generation adidas players
  3. Any former college player who departed college with remaining eligibility since the conclusion of the college season approximately one (1) year prior to the SuperDraft (i.e., since the conclusion of the 2022 college season) in order to compete as a professional in a league domestically (e.g., USL, NISA, CPL)
  4. Any other players specifically made available by the league (such as pre-signed College seniors or pre-signed internationals).

2024 SuperDraft order

The MLS SuperDraft order is determined by taking the reverse order of the club standings at the end of each MLS season, taking postseason performance into account. Here is the current top five:

  1. Toronto FC
  2. Colorado Rapids
  3. Inter Miami CF
  4. Colorado Rapids^
  5. Austin FC

^ Colorado acquired the No. 4 overall selection in the 2024 SuperDraft via a trade with the LA Galaxy.

Generation adidas program

Generation adidas is a joint program between MLS and adidas that sees a handful of top collegiate underclassmen and youth national team players signed by MLS to Generation adidas contracts and made available in the SuperDraft.

To provide Generation adidas players with the best professional environment, Generation adidas player salaries are not charged against an MLS team's annual salary budget, providing an added incentive for that club to develop the player. Eventually, GA players graduate to senior player contracts and their salaries are charged against a team's budget.

Prominent SuperDraft alumni

In recent years, top college soccer players who are still in MLS include:

  • Orlando City SC striker Duncan McGuire (2023; No. 6 overall)
  • FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano (2022; No. 2 overall)
  • Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte (2022; No. 12 overall)
  • Austin FC midfielder Daniel Pereira (2021; No. 1 overall)
  • Nashville SC defender Jack Maher (2020; No. 2 overall)