While the season isn’t officially over for Sporting Kansas City, their 2022 MLS Cup Playoff hopes have already been dashed. They came on late but a slow start ultimately doomed the team. However, that just means we get to look forward to what is coming before the start of the 2023 season. While there will no doubt be countless rumors, unexpected transactions and other happenings not on the official calendar, let’s lay out what we know for sure is coming in the 2022-23 offseason.
November 7th — Trade Window Opens
At 11:00 AM CST until 11:00 AM on November 9th, for the first time since the roster freeze, Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs will be able to start making trades in preparation for the upcoming expansion draft. Peter Vermes has made some interesting trades in years past in an effort to protect players.
November 10th — Expansion Draft Protected Lists
The Blue Testament will get deeper into all the rules of who does and who doesn’t have to be protected in the expansion draft, but the lists will be announced on the 10th.
November 11th — MLS Expansion Draft
New MLS club St. Louis City SC (I refuse to capitalize and yell city at you each time I type it) will get to select five players to continue their roster build according to the rules laid out by the league. Sporting KC will not be exempt from the draft as they didn’t officially lose a player to Charlotte FC (despite the Jaylin Lindsey trade).
Following the draft, the trade window reopens, and inevitably St. Louis will probably draft some players with the intent of trading them elsewhere.
November 14th — Options & Bona Fide Offers
This is the deadline to submit a bona fide offer to a player (e.g. $15,000 increase or 10% increase in salary over his prior year’s salary). It’s also the deadline to notify the league office of contract options being picked up.
This is markedly later than typical. Often teams have until just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs or the season ending to announce their moves. It’ll be interesting to see if those moves are still made quickly or if teams are given grace to have conversations with players instead of being rushed which partially led to that awkward Matt Besler situation a couple seasons ago.
November 16th — Free Agency
At Noon CST free agency opens up. The rules change fairly drastically this year allowing players who are at least 24-years-old and who have five years of MLS service to become a free agent. More progress likely still needs to be made here from the players, but it’s a bit of a step forward from a time when only ‘old’ guys became free agents.
Daniel Salloi was set to be one of the more premier free agents in MLS before signing his Targeted Allocation Money extension with Sporting KC.
November 17th — Re-Entry and Waivers
At Noon CST Stage 1 of the Re-Entry
Draft Process will be conducted in the reverse order of the 2022 standings with St. Louis going last. Players eligible for this draft must be at least 22-years-old, have a minimum of one year of service in MLS and not otherwise be eligible for free agency. If a player is out of contract but has received a bona fide offer, they will not be eligible. Players can also opt-out of this process.
Teams cannot draft their own players. If they do draft a player they must immediately pick up the option on their contract, or if one doesn’t exist extend a bona fide offer.
At 4:00 PM CST end of year waivers will go down. It’s also in reverse order with St. Louis in last. This is for players out of contract who don’t meet the requirements for the Re-Entry Process or free agency.
November 22nd — Re-Entry Stage 2
At Noon CST a week later, the second stage of the re-entry process begins where teams can pick their own players (remember when Sporting KC drafted Felipe Gutierrez) after all other teams pass on them. The offer changes from bona fide to genuine (aka they can offer less money). Then teams have seven days to make said offer and if the player doesn’t sign, a team holds the right of first refusal (which is why Colorado had to trade a paltry sum to get Gutierrez this season).
December 8th - 12th — MLS College Showcase
Sporting KC will be picking higher up than any recent year in the SuperDraft (they traded away that 2019 pick before falling off a cliff) so they’ll likely be more invested in this event in Cary, North Carolina. College prospects from around the nation will gather for this multi-day event.
December 21st — 2023 MLS SuperDraft
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup ending the season earlier than in recent memory, the draft is moving into 2022. There will be three rounds with St. Louis City SC going first and the remaining teams drafting in reverse order.
Around this time in the calendar there is usually nothing going on. After the draft will be the dead period of the MLS offseason.
The Blue Testament will bring you relevant coverage of all of these events as well as all the other rumors, trades, transfers and other offseason fun that will go on before and after these dates.