Red Bull Arena Corner
Rob Tringali

Red Bulls Guide to the Offseason | Dec. 11: Half-Day Trade Window

Following the conclusion of the MLS Cup Final on Dec. 10, the offseason calendar kicks off immediately with a few major opportunities for player movement within the league, beginning with Sunday’s Half-Day Trade Window.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on Dec. 11, MLS clubs will have the opportunity to make trades for the first time this offseason.

The Half-Day Trade Window will last just three hours, and once shut, no trades involving players will be permitted until the end of the Expansion Draft on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Players, SuperDraft picks, General and Targeted Allocation Money*, Allocation Rankings** and International Player Slots*** may all be exchanged in trades approved by the MLS League Office, provided all of the necessary rules regarding roster and salary budget compliance are met and the trade is completed during a valid trading period. 


* General and Targeted Allocation Money: General Allocation Money (GAM) is money that is available to a club in addition to its salary budget. GAM can be used to:

  • Sign players new to MLS (that is, a player who did not play in MLS during the previous season)
  • Re-sign an existing MLS player
  • Off-set acquisition costs (loan and transfer fees)
  • In connection with the extension of a player’s contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year
  • Reduce the Salary Budget Charge of a Designated Player to a limit of $150,000.

Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) is money used to invest in their roster outside of the player salary budget. TAM can be used in four ways:

  • Clubs may use the funds to sign a new player provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the maximum salary budget
  • Re-sign an existing player provided he is earning more than the maximum salary budget
  • Use a portion of or all of the available TAM to convert a Designated Player to a non-Designated Player by buying down his salary budget charge to at or below the maximum salary budget charge
  • Trade their TAM to another club.

** Allocation Rankings: The Allocation Process is the mechanism used to determine which MLS Club has first priority to acquire a player listed on the Allocation Ranking List. The list will consist of (i) select U.S. Men’s National Team players, (ii) elite youth U.S. National Team players, or (iii) former MLS players returning to MLS after joining a non-MLS club for a transfer fee greater than $500,000. For the current Allocation Rankings, visit

*** International Player Slots: In 2016, a total of 160 international roster spots are divided among the 20 clubs. These spots are tradable, in full season increments, such that some clubs may have more than eight and some clubs may have fewer than eight. There is no limit on the number of international roster spots on each club’s roster.

For U.S.-based clubs, any Player who does not qualify as a U.S. Domestic Player in a U.S. Club shall be considered an International Player, and must occupy an international slot on a U.S. Club’s Roster.

For U.S. Clubs, a domestic player is either a U.S. Citizen, a permanent resident (Green Card holder) or the holder of certain other special status (e.g., has been granted refugee or asylum status).  There is no limit as to the number of U.S. Domestic Players on a U.S. Club’s Roster.



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