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We Have Some More Roster Rules for You

Let’s visit some more roster rules! It’ll be fun...I swear

2015 MLS Cup - Portland Timbers v Columbus Crew SC

Alright, I’m back to explain some more roster rules in the MLS. In my last installment, I explained the rules behind TAM/GAM and DP players. (Or I tried to at least.) This time around I will try to explain the rules behind International Slots, Generation Adidas players, and Homegrown Players. Here...we...go!

Now, you might be asking yourself, “Self, I didn’t even know those existed! Where did they come from?” And I am here to explain them. (Well, try to. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware of those either until about 3 years ago.)

Homegrown Players

MLS: Orlando City SC at D.C. United
Bill Hamid was the first HGP signed for DC United
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with the rule that was instituted in 2008 and probably was long overdue. Simply put, the HGP rule was adopted to allow teams to sign players from their development academies to their first team squad. Before, any academy players had to enter the MLS through avenues like the SuperDraft.

The more confusing aspect is how they affect the salary cap. If a HGP is signed to the first team roster, they do count against the cap. If they are signed to the supplemental roster, they do not. Huh...I guess that is not very confusing after all.

Soccer: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qulafying-Mexico at USA
Pictured: The GOAT of HGPs
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If a Homegrown Player signs for a college or plays for one of the youth USMNT teams, they will not lose their status as an HGP. And success can come quickly for HGPs as DeAndre Yedlin became the first HGP to represent the USA in a World Cup.

Generation Adidas

MLS: MLS SuperDraft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore. . .Jamie Watson. What do these players have in common? Each was a Generation Adidas Player. (Yes, Jamie Watson was a Generation Adidas player in the class of 2005. With some guy named Brad Guzan. Wonder what happened to him?) MNUFC’s first ever draft pick, Abu Danladi, was one of this year’s GA class.

What does it mean to be Generation Adidas? Well Generation Adidas started in the 90s as a joint venture between US Soccer and Adidas to try raise the level of play. Originally, it was meant to raise the level of the US National Team, but players do not have to be eligible for the USMNT any longer. (Such is the case with Danladi, who will likely play for Ghana, but I am not locking that in as a prediction.

Generation Adidas players are allowed to enter the professional ranks early. They either do not attend college or leave college early, so if their professional careers do not pan out, they are able to get a scholarship for their degree.

Soccer: Minnesota United FC at New York Cosmos Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Generation Adidas are not counted against the senior roster, and generally earn a pretty hefty salary. The players granted GA status are protected from expansion drafts until they “graduate” from the program. Graduating seems to be arbitrarily based on amount of professional minutes played. (If someone can give a little more clarification on that, I would be thankful.)

International Roster Slots

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Montreal Impact
Johan Venegas is one of (possibly) 9 International Players on the current roster
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

International Slots. Honestly, I did not know these existed until a couple years ago. I just assumed that MLS teams were more inclined to sign American players rather than having actual designated slots for non-domestic players. Man, I was wrong.

Major League Soccer allocates 160 slots for the teams. These slots start at about 8 per team, but they can be traded. Most teams tend to have around 6-8 slots.


Right now, it appears that United is sitting with 9 international slots with none open. US Domestic Citizens (or Canadian for Canadian clubs), permanent residents, or those granted some sort of special status (refugees or the like) are considered domestic players. (When it comes to Canadians playing for U.S. based clubs, it’s up in the air. Someday the league will normalize that rule. . .hopefully.)

Well, I hope that was a little informative. It is a brief overview to go with your brief understanding of TAM and DPs! Minnesota United will have the most informed fanbase. That is the goal.

Have anything to add? Get your thoughts in below!