With two new franchises set to enter MLS for the 2015 season, the league will hold an expansion draft on Wednesday afternoon to assist those clubs in filling in their rosters ahead of the MLS SuperDraft in January. The expansion draft allows new franchises to build out their teams by selecting players from the rosters of the current 18 MLS teams, with a few exceptions.
For purposes of the draft, players whose contracts expire at the end of 2014 are considered part of a team’s roster for the expansion draft.
On Monday afternoon, each team submitted a list of 11 players that they will protect, making them ineligible for selection by the new teams, Orlando City SC and NYCFC. Protecting a player during an expansion draft does not mean that a club has to exercise a player’s contract option moving forward.
List of Red Bulls protected players
- Goalkeepers: Luis Robles, Ryan Meara
- Defenders: Jamison Olave, Roy Miller, Ambroise Oyongo (international), Chris Duvall
- Midfielders: Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Lloyd Sam (international), Ian Christianson
- Forwards: Bradley Wright Phillips (international)
Automatically protected (Homegrown)
- Goalkeepers: Santiago Castano
- Defenders: Matt Miazga, Connor Lade
- Defenders: Richard Eckersley, Kosuke Kimura, Armando, Damien Perrinelle, Ibrahim Sekagya,
- Midfielders: Tim Cahill, Bobby Convey, Thierry Henry, Peguy Luyindula, Ruben Bover, Michael Bustamante, Marius Obekop, Eric Stevenson
- Forwards: Saer Sene
In addition to the 11 a club chooses to protect, any homegrown players are automatically protected. For the Red Bulls, this means that homegrown signees Santiago Castano, Matt Miazga, and Connor Lade, since they were recognized and developed by the organization at a young age.
Designated Players are not automatically protected from being selected in the expansion draft. If a team wishes to protect their DPs, they must use one of their 11 protected spots on him. If a designated player has a no-trade clause in his contract, he must be added to a team’s protected 11.
The Red Bulls have protected newly-made DP Bradley Wright-Phillips, and elected not to add Australian Tim Cahill to the list.
For the purposes of the expansion draft, any non-domestic U.S. players will be counted as Internationals. There are restrictions on how many International players must be protected, and how many may be made available. Clubs must protect a minimum of three Internationals, given that they have more than three on their roster. Conversely, there is a limit on how many international players a team can make available. A team cannot make more than their total number of Internationals, minus three, available. The Red Bulls currently have 10 Internationals on their roster, so they must protect at least three, and cannot make more than seven available.
The Red Bulls have protected Englishmen Bradley Wright-Phillip and Lloyd Sam, as well as Cameroonian Ambroise Oyongo
Once a team has had a player selected, they can pick another player to add to their protected list, bringing the total to 12. Once a team has two players selected, their remaining players are removed from the draft pool. Meaning, no team can lose more than two players in the expansion draft.
After the draft, the two teams will have an opportunity to renegotiate salaries with their drafted players without having to place the players on waivers.
The draft will begin on Wednesday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. Orlando City SC and NYCFC will take turns selecting through 10 rounds. Orlando City SC will pick first, by virtue of winning a draw back in September. The event will be streamed live on MLSSoccer.com.