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A Look Back at the Priority Draft

What happened in the “Draft of drafts?”

MLS: Minnesota United FC-Press Conference Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

On October 16th, Sporting Director Manny Lagos lost a coin toss to Atlanta United President and so began a process that would dictate how MNUFC would prepare for their first season in MLS.

At the 2016 Priority Draft, Atlanta and Minnesota took turns picking which player-acquisition methods they wanted to prioritize. Below are the 6 rankings determined by the draft, in the order in which they were selected:

Expansion Draft (Atlanta #1/Minnesota #2)

One of my fellow writers has already written a good summary of the December 13th Expansion draft. It is the next major event in United’s transition to MLS.

SuperDraft (Minnesota #1/Atlanta #2)

This has also been covered by this site. The Loons have the top pick in this year’s draft, which puts us in an exciting position to pick any player we want coming out of college.

Allocation Order (Atlanta #1/Minnesota #2)

Three types of players make the MLS Allocation list: U.S. Men’s National Team players, elite youth U.S. National Team players, and former MLS players returning to MLS after joining a non-MLS club for a transfer fee greater than $500,000.

Whenever one of these players joins the league, the team with top ranking get first priority to sign the player, and so on down the list until a team claims them. Once a team uses their allocation ranking to acquire a player, they move to the bottom of the list.

USL/NASL Player Priority (Minnesota #1/Atlanta #2)

Minnesota probably selected to have priority on the lower league players because we have been able to see these players first hand when we played against them. Go with what you know.

Provided a USL/NASL player is not on any team’s Discovery List (more on that below), United get first dibs on them because we are top of the order. Perhaps Manny has seen someone in the last few years he thinks can make the step up.

2016 Waiver Draft and Re-Entry Draft (Atlanta #21/ Minnesota #22)

The last of the many drafts, the Waiver and Re-Entry Draft allows teams to select players who have not had their contract options exercised by they club or were placed on waivers. Unlike the other drafts, however, Minnesota and Atlanta will be picking at the end of both rounds.

Player Discovery Ranking (Minnesota #21/ Atlanta #22)

Discovery is kind of the catch-all mechanism in MLS. If a player isn’t subject to any of the other drafts or lists, then a team can file a Discovery claim on the player to get a first right of refusal on a player.

If the player and MLS negotiate a salary and the team with the discovery claim refuses to pay is, then they player is offered down the Discovery rankings list. Again, Minnesota and Atlanta will be at the end of this list.

So there it is. It’s a lot to try to wrap one’s head around, but these mechanisms will be used to help the Loons put together our 28-man roster for our first season.