The 20th season in Major League Soccer (MLS) has just ended, and now history has been made on Tuesday with free agency being put into action at 1 PM Eastern Time. The start of this era will change the league in every way, but the biggest impact will be in the improvement of the level of talent on the field
Yes, there are some rules to the potential free agents. For a player to qualify for the free agency: they must be at least 28-years-old and have a minimum of playing eight years or more in MLS. So with those regulations placed that will automatically dwindle the size of the player pool.
With those rules MLS placed, only 27 players are eligible to join free agency. The 20 clubs in MLS will not be able to pick up a player that will be the difference of why they win an MLS Cup in 2016 due to the restriction. However, there are names here that can help a club become champions or just a better team.
However, by the time the new five-year CBA deal ends in 2020, there might be some changes to the rules. The reason for that is because they will see the players are happier with their situation. Since they will have a little more control on where they play in their careers and they might be able to squeeze out some more money. That will translate on to the field and improve the level of play.
American soccer fans are already familiar with seeing athletes playing for a new and potentially better contract when it is up with their club, or they go to Europe and try their luck. However, now they will begin to see what fans of the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and Major League Baseball see on a regular basis. Athletes putting up career numbers not to re-sign with their current club, but instead to see what they can get in free agency.
The talented players of MLS will actually stay in the league for a change. The reason for that is because the players will be able to make their own decision. Of course this can only happen when it is time for the MLS owners and the Players Union to draw up a new CBA contract.
In the meantime, here is the list of the first group of players eligible for the free agency:
GK (4): Jon Busch (Chicago Fire, 39-years-old), Troy Perkins (Seattle Sounders FC, 34-years-old), Kyle Reynish (New York Red Bulls, 32-years-old) and Andrew Weber (Portland Timbers, 32-years-old)
DEF (7): Corey Ashe (Orlando City SC, 29-years-old), Bobby Burling (Colorado Rapids, 31-years-old), Ty Harden (Chicago Fire, 31-years-old), Michael Harrington (Colorado Rapids, 29-years-old), Stephen Keel (FC Dallas, 32-years-old), Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids, 31-years-old) and James Riley (Colorado Rapids, 33-years-old)
MID (10): Eric Avila (Orlando City SC, 28-years-old), Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union, 34-years-old), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo, 32-years-old), Ned Grabavoy (New York City FC, 32-years-old), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado Rapids, 31-years-old), Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire, 32-years-old), Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact, 31-years-old), Paulo Nagamura (Sporting Kansas City, 32-years-old), Khari Stephenson (San Jose Earthquakes, 34-years-old) and Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo, 28-years-old)
FWD (6): Chad Barrett (Seattle Sounders FC, 30-years-old), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy, 34-years-old), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union, 34-years-old). Kenny Cooper (Montreal Impact, 31-years-old), Alan Gordon (Los Angeles Galaxy, 34-years-old) and Mike Magee (Chicago Fire, 31-years-old)