MLS Changes Designated Player Rule

According to the MLS Web site, the league has decided to add to its designated player rule.

Effective immediately, teams will now have two designated player slots, and an option to buy a third.

The third slot, it seems, would cost a team $250,000 – money that would be shared as allocation money among the clubs without three DPs.

The release reads, “each DP player signing will now count as $335,000 toward a team’s salary budget and $167,500 if the DP is signed mid-season. According to the league, the $335,000 figure represents approximately 13 percent of a team’s salary budget. Previously, teams were charged $415,000 against the salary budget per DP. A team can also use its allocation money to bring that salary budget hit down to just $185,000.”

So, in the wake of an off-season of labor strife, this has to go down as huge news for the league.

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45 Responses to MLS Changes Designated Player Rule

  1. Bob says:

    Nice now bring MLS to the city of Miami FL.

  2. Charles says:

    I don’t really see a team signing a third DP, not because of the $250k tax, but it would take up so much cap space.
    Seattle and others are going to have two for sure however.

    One didn’t make that much of a difference in most opinions. Two, might be a different story.

    I hope MLS interest spikes when they bring in some of the players.

    • Jeff says:

      These are the clubs I think will have 2 (maybe 3) DP’s by next season…
      – New York (gotta keep the stands full in RBA)
      – L.A. (It’s L.A., what other reason do you need?)
      – Seattle (they want to own the league)
      – Chicago (they have replaced the old executive regime with real soccer folks)

  3. Charles says:

    Oh and yes it is HUGE NEWS….but I don’t take that to mean is GREAT news, just huge.
    IF this means that a Dallas type finishing last every year, a Dallas type will be finished.

    • Jammer says:

      I agree.. Three DP slots, with no cap for them? It unravels the salary parity of the league. Maybe teams won’t fit in the third DP this year, but the cap goes up $250k every year, so it won’t be long. Are Columbus’ titles a thing of the past?

  4. ChivaDeCorazon83 says:

    does anyone know how this affects the Chivas USA/RBNY trade that sent Amado Guevara to L.A. (and we all know how wonderful that turned out)? Does this mean RBNY has three slots? Does each team go back to having two or does Chivas only have one and NY got a free third one? I’m confussed

    • Jammer says:

      New York “loses” the DP slot it traded for, and gets 2-3 just like everyone else. They are compensated $70k allocation money for losing the DP slot they traded for.

  5. YH says:

    With the labor strife behind us we can focus on making this league one of the best in the world which it already is from a competitive standpoint. Top to bottom MLS is by far the most competitive and balanced product on the globe, but adding DPs gives us the star power that will make the eurosnobs wince. Great job MLS!

    • How can you have the best league in the world, when clubs are limited to the performance levels of the lowest supported among them?

      Even three players at unlimited salary, combined with twenty one who average 60k, does not make MLS the best league in North America, much less the world.

      • Gazza says:

        Then what is the best soccer league in North America if it’s not MLS?

        • MLS has never won a match on Mexican soil, so I give it to the Mexican first div.

        • dhines says:

          dude, you are kidding . . . right? i think the top 2 clubs (salary wise) in mexico have payrolls that are higher than $60M USD (each). if you think that the MLS is in the same league as the FMF, you really haven’t seen the two leagues compete against each other.

          just because the USMNT is better than el tri doesn’t mean our league is better. we have a long way to go before we are even true competition to the FMF.

          sad but true.

          • Gazza says:

            Sorry, my bad. I was thinking of North America as in Canada and the US. In football terms, I consider Mexico in Latin and South America.

  6. eplnfl says:

    Good news for the big guys in the league, Seattle and NY and Chicago will probably jump in no problem and grab an extra DP. There will be have and have not in the MLS now. It’s the price of success so to speak. We do not want to become a EPL with a big 2 or big 4 but major markets or strong supported teams like Seattle will make out.

    While this was going to happen anyway Blanco seems ready to be in Chicago post World Cup. Go Fire.

    All in all great for the league.

  7. Robert says:

    Does a DP have to be a foreigner? Why not pay to keep our top american talent to garner some interest stateside from the fans. I think its ridiculous that we pay over the hill foreign talent with little re-sale value and punish young american talent.

    • Logan says:

      The DP can be anyone. Donovan is LA’s second DP, for instance.

      • Robert says:

        Logan, Donovan is was grandfathered in before the DP Rule. He had a contract before all the salary restrictions on developmental players. What happens to American talent is they are signed as developmental contracts, such as Stuart Holden who made $34,000 in MLS last season, and end up having to go overseas to make a decent wage.

        • Logan says:

          Oh, okay. I was just going off this quote from the article on “According to the league, the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan will count as a DP”.

          • Robert says:

            I stand corrected. As you can see, top talent (Donovan) will stay in MLS if the money is there but since it’s not…well you know the rest.

  8. Flex Buffchest says:

    I agree with Robert a little bit. The US can put out some great talent as you can see from soccer headlines. Donovan doing extremely well in Everton, Dempsey’s goal to bring Fulham to the next round, Howard’s many accomplishments in the EPL, along with Beasley and Altidore. They are great American talent that I’d love to see back in the MLS (minus Donovan obviously since he’s already back in LA). I think Americans like seeing American play well. It’s the American pride. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to see the Beckhams, the Henrys, and the Ljundbergs still come in the MLS, but it shouldn’t hinder the American talent since this is US soccer. Either way, anything to help the sport of soccer/football grow here in the states is a plus in my book.

  9. MLS rolls the dice here, if the release can be taken at face value.

    The league owns a majority of virtually every club, making control and gentlemens agreements relatively easy. So it could be a phantom. We’re at .375 DPs per team now. Will that quadruple?

    If one club grabbed three world class players, and only have to spread a paltry quarter mil around the league to do so, wouldn’t that make it NASL?

    Isn’t NASL the excuse for all this parity nonsense? I totally agree with people who say that superclubs can’t survive in a closed league. Will three world class players make an MLS superclub?

  10. Theoretically, a team with three DPs would have to pay their other players an average of 60k, plus or minus allocation money.

    Three multimillionaires, and a bunch of average joes.

    How ’bout we stop putting european lipstick on the American pig, and just adopt the european pig already?

    • John brown says:

      Totally agree man ur one of the few that see the truth. It’s all about mls and power and money. Garber is getting bathed in money while average joes wait on David beckham and other dps to drop a $100 bill in the lockers. Let’s just dump this whole American “franchise” system and get with the rest of the world. And don’t give me that “we don’t want to be a nasl again” excuse. The don set a cap on club growth. It’s communism why do you think mls clubs do soo bad in CCL and we’re banned from cops libertadoes cuz dc united did so horrible? Hmm garber?

    • Joe says:

      With allocation money those 3 DP’s (multi-millionaires) could count only $185k against the salary cap. That leaves about $2m for the rest of the squad. Given that Generation Adidas and home grown Academy players don’t count against the cap that means the remaining “average joes” are earning $150k to $250k on average. Pretty expensive pigs.

  11. Charles says:
    I was thinking this too, but teams can get around the salary cap by signing Generation Addidas players….which teams like Seattle will ALWAYS do.
    They don’t count against salary caps.

    I thought the salary cap was rediculous when they put it in place.
    Too low.
    Does the low salary cap hurt some of the teams ? for example a team that can afford more, but can’t afford a superstar. They still allocate $335k to salary cap, but maybe only for a player worth $500-750k. With a higher salary cap, they don’t use a DP, which they can sell.

    Just thinking outloud a little….

    • I think you’re probly right. I bet some MLS teams do use DP slots for mid level players that might put them over the cap. That would certainly mitigate their potential impact.

      The cap hurts top clubs. If you ever want to see pro/rel, the caps have to go. Without caps, a closed league system stratifies into permanent cellar dwellers and superclubs.

      In my eyes, since caps are incompatible with open leagues, they fundamentally hurt this game, which thrives on open competition. Gen Addidas players throw in a wrinkle, but still, the MLS is the same crap shoot it ever was.

      All that being said, I think it is great that supporters in places like Seattle and Toronto will be able to apply a certain amount of pressure on ownership to build a little bit better club for the very first time. I’m sure it was no easy feat to get some owners to concede these meager points.

      What really hurts the teams is the Clippers mentality that goes hand in hand with the closed league. If you believe the hype, average franchise values have spiked 400%, without any discernible increase in quality of play. If their franchise value went up without lifting a finger, some can and do conclude that the smart move is to do nothing.

      These problems are specific to our closed league system. In an open league environment, with pro/rel, these attitudes are filtered out without the complex web that MLS weaves to shield their owners from financial risk – and the larger risk of pro/rel on the horizon. Nothing would shake the American pro sports establishment harder than a successful, meritocratic, and fair system that rewards performance, not parity.

      • dhines says:

        promotion / relegation would help? dude what are you smoking . . . the slightest bit of talk of promotion / relegation would dry up any potentional investment in the MLS. who in their right mind would invest in a stadium if there is a decent chance that they will be relegated over the next 3 – 5 years? answer: no one.

        the key to growing this league is infrastructure development, and that will never happen with promotion and relegation.

        i really don’t get why so many americans want to suck up to a european model that doesn’t fit our needs.

        • It’s not a suck up. It’s the free market. We should have designed the open system with pro/rel and independent clubs. Now it’s time to get over the fact that we didn’t. It wouldn’t dry up investment, once MLS owners saw that relegation to a league whose promotion battles were getting better ratings and bigger crowds than MLS gets today. The bar is SO low. For every twenty five cable viewers WWE gets, MLS gets one.

          I do appreciate that MLS is building great little out-of-the-way stadiums for our future second div. Seattle was about to prove that the growth curve was bunk, and that some MLS clubs could fill real stadiums, until the team and/or the league decided to reign in ticket sales.

          This country has the infrastructure already. Blaming crappy stadiums for the crappy soccer in them is not the solution. Sure, I’d rather see a game played on real grass w/o football lines, but it’s pretty telling when a league feels more comfortable dealing in real estate than talent.

          La Bombenera wouldn’t be cool without Boca inside. Old Trafford wouldn’t be cool if the Wiz played in it.

          MLS has built a structure in which mediocrity is imposed, and failure tolerated, because the financial health of owners comes first. These changes are drastic for the most conservative business model in American sports, but are still miles away from the real world.

          If our owners commitment to the game isn’t deep enough to expose themselves to a system that has worked from Moscow to Monterrey, we don’t need them.

          This game thrives because it puts supporters first, not owners. MLS took a step in the right direction here on paper, but their controls on every club are still strong. They know that superclubs and single entity don’t mix, and I’m sure they’ll use their powers to continue to impose the mediocrity they need to continue their closed league ways.

          If we top treating the game like a fragile snowflake, that would be a great start. All we have to do is expose our owners to the same pressures their global contemporaries face, in a system that encourages them to build the best club they and their supporters can afford.

          Shouldn’t our first division in the hands of people whose first priority is soccer?

          Today, it’s still about owners, developing a niche that doesn’t overlap with their other business ventures, and their white knuckle grip on the entitlements of the most owner friendly sports business model on the planet.

          We have more supporters in the USA today than any of the big five nations. We just need to demand more. I think MLS is hearing us, but we’ve got a ways to go.

          • Alex says:

            Dude ur sooo right. And this isn’t eurosnob talk this is the truth. Everything you said is true. People don’t want to believe it because the structure is similar to other anerican sports and believe every mls sob story. Enough mls puts a cap on club or “franchise” growth (this isn’t fucking mcdonalds theyr clubs not franchises) then mls wonders why clubs don’t do so well out side the league and why mls game always end in 1-0 0-0 -1-1. Good talent domestic and foreign flee as fast as they can in fear of the stricuture. And good foreign tAlent don’t want to come because there is no hood talent here already (given the fact clubs sent allowed to buy good players ) by mls’s definition colombians and central Americans are favorer buys because theyr cheap and know how to play (some what) independent clubs and open market is the way to go. Then you’ll see soccer fans interested

  12. Alex says:

    I’m a big mls fan but I don’t like the leagues dumb regulations and rules. But this is great news we more players like these to create better clubs in the league and in the CCL. ( I dream of one day dc united becoming a superclub like chelsea) but I’m glad garber is slowly taking off the teaming wheels. Hopefully one day parity and single entity will be a thing of the past. But just to be clear so I don’t piss off people I’m for slow advancement I hope the icing of the mls maturity cake will be pro/reg

    greetings from Gainesville fl.

  13. JM says:

    Galaxy will sign 3 total DPs next year. They’ve got enough allocation $ to buy down each cap figure to $185k. That would be a total of $555k – leaving $2-million for the other 21 players.

    • That’s pretty insane actually. Maybe Leiweke gets the last laugh, and LA gets the first superclub since the Cosmos? Can he pry open the pocketbook of his great Oz? True intrigue….

      • Just learned that Leiwike cut his teeth on the St. Louis Steamers of MISL. Maybe there is a soccer guy in there somewhere. He packed ’em in, with a Rowdies type atmosphere. Party on, Tim.

  14. Alex says:

    Alex 26 minutes ago
    Oh and btw I think Henry is having second thoughts about rbnj because the club is in new jersey and not new York. He loves new York city and harrison is a long ways from new York but with a stadium like that I don’t think he would care. I hope new York city gets a club I know that has nothing to do with dps but I’m just saying new York city needs a team sign the petition at

    • LI Matt says:

      What do you mean by “a long ways from New York”? Harrison isn’t any further away from Manhattan than East Rutherford (it’s basically directly south).

      Personally, as a Spurs and Madrid fan I’d just as soon not have to cheer for Henry. but whatever he decides, it won’t have anything to do with which side of the state line the Red Bulls are — and always have been — on.

    • the question is, is Beckham begging Henry to come over to spare him the status of the one global superstar to dive into the MLS empty pool, or being the good guy and waving him off?

  15. dhines says:

    i think some people are missing one key point . . . even if clubs don’t buy down the cap hit of 3 DP’s, they can still field a good team. here’s why:

    the salaries earned in tour money don’t count against the cap

    lets say a team goes out and lands 3 huge international stars. they would then be able to line up tours of europe and asia. i wouldn’t be surprised if these tours couldn’t add 30k to each of these players ‘salary’.

    there are ways around this cap, teams just have to be creative in doing so. i mean think about it, do you really think becks is only getting $5M USD per year to be with the galaxy? come on . . .

  16. Anon says:

    “It’s communism why do you think mls clubs do soo bad in CCL and we’re banned from cops libertadoes cuz dc united did so horrible?”

    Hey J Brown get your facts straight. MLS is not banned from Copa Lib. They have never participated in it. MLS competed in Copa SudAmerica when there was an agreement that CONCACAF teams could be invited based upon the CCC. When CCL came into being CONCACAF withdrew from that agreement. FMF can play in Copa Lib. and I think Copa Sud. due to an agreement between FMF and CONMEBOL with CONCACAF’s blessing.

  17. Anon says:

    @J Brown,

    And how is losing 2 – 2 on away goals to Chivas such a terrible showing.

    • Still waiting on that first win on Mexican soil. It’s not even worth comparing them in the same breath. Plus, with the lame marketing, and teams like the sounders relegating CCL games to stadiums that can hold 3k, it’s pretty clear the word from the top is – don’t bother.

  18. Jammer says:

    The other 21 players would average 71k, not 60k, not counting allocation money or GA. Because the cap is up to 2.55 million. The cap increases by about 125k a year also.

    We may not see a third DP right away, but a couple years down, probably.

  19. MLS in Tampa says:

    The second stadium is labeled soccer/multi-event and would have 45,000 seats. It would hold either a Major League Soccer franchise or international soccer games, as well as other events.


    ROWDIES 20th MLS team 2012

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