International Homegrown player.
The term seems to be a bit of an oxymoron but when you combine Major League Soccer’s arcane rules and Peter Vermes’ penchant for making the most of those rules you end up with the peculiarity that is Daniel Salloi.
The Hungarian forward came to Kansas City as an exchange student and played for Sporting Kansas City’s Academy for a year. That was enough to qualify him to be a Homegrown player in MLS.
Most of the time it is just an interesting anomaly, a curious point to shake your head at but it makes things more interesting and confusing when it comes time for another Expansion Draft.
Homegrown players are automatically protected in the Expansion Draft. Even MLS would not want a young kid that came up through his local academy to be plucked away so easily. Or more likely it is because they want to encourage the development of players within MLS clubs.
Whatever the reason is, Homegrown players are automatically protected and do not count as part of the 11 players can protect from the draft.
But the International tag on Salloi makes the choice facing Vermes a little more challenging.
At the end of the season Sporting KC had 7 players using International slots: Latif Blessing, Cristian Lobato, James Musa, Soni Mustivar, Kevin Oliveira, Tyler Pasher and Daniel Salloi.
Since that time Blessing received his green card so he no longer uses an International slot. Sporting KC recently did not exercise the options on Mustivar, Oliveira and Pasher so they are not under contract but were on the roster at the end of the season and they still count as Internationals for the purpose of the Expansion Draft.
The official MLS description of the International player rules for the Expansion Draft: Clubs are restricted in the number of international player(s) that they may make available. Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three, provided that if a club has three or fewer international players it may not make more than one international player available.
Following the rules Sporting KC has to protect a minimum of three International players.
So how does Salloi fall in the rules? Squarely in the middle of the Homegrown AND the International rules it seems.
He is auto-protected but still counts towards the total of Internationals. So if he is on the Homegrown list, they still have to protect three other international players. SKC only has two other players under contract so Vermes may have to protect a player that they just declined an option on.
So two possible scenarios and they both seem equally valid:
1. Vermes protects Musa, Lobato and Salloi in his 11 protected choices even though Salloi is auto-protected.
2. Vermes keeps Salloi off of the 11 protected list since he is auto-protected but then has to protect Musa, Lobato and one of (Oliveira, Pasher or Mustivar).
It seems that either choice is possible but number 2 more likely. Might as well prevent LAFC from taking experienced veteran Mustivar or gambling on the potential of Oliveira or Pasher in the draft. Make them at least go through the waiver draft or sign elsewhere.
Better idea yet, stop having expansion drafts .
Update: Thanks to Mike McGrew for reminding me of a third possible scenario with the Internationals.
In 2016 Salloi was auto-protected in the expansion draft.— Mike McGrew (@Zavagtastic) November 29, 2017
A variation on option 2 is that PV trades for an int'l player in the half-day trade window.
There is a four hour window where trades and player signings can take place on December 10th. Vermes could trade for someone that he would want to protect that was also an International. Then Salloi could be auto-protected and Musa, Lobato and Player X could be protected.