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Major League Soccer 2016 Roster Rules and Competition Guidelines Announced

MLS Communications
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Major League Soccer 2016 Roster Rules and Competition Guidelines Announced
NEW YORK (March 4, 2016) – Major League Soccer today announced the Roster Rules and Competition Guidelines for the 2016 MLS season. The 2016 Roster Rules outline the league’s regulations related to roster composition, categories of players and methods of player acquisition. The 2016 Competition Guidelines outline the league’s regular season schedule format, conference alignment, and playoff qualification and format. In addition, the Guidelines set out the league’s Disciplinary protocol, including policies related to yellow/red cards and supplemental discipline issued by the Disciplinary Committee.
For the 2016 MLS Roster Rules and Regulations, please click here.
For the 2016 MLS Competition Guidelines, please click here.
Following last season’s updates to the player acquisition mechanisms with the Discovery Process and the Allocation Process, additional changes were made during the offseason to the Roster Rules and Regulations in the following areas:
  • Salary Budget relief for a player who suffers a season-ending injury prior to the close of the Primary Transfer Window
  • Eligibility of Homegrown Players and USL affiliate players to participate with their MLS Club in CONCACAF Champions League, AMWAY Canadian Championship, U.S. Open Cup and exhibition matches
  • Number of non-Homegrown USL-affiliate players for whom a parent MLS Club has priority
  • Process for waiving and assigning a player with a guaranteed contract
The 2016 Roster Rules also provide greater detail regarding transfer fee revenue shared by an MLS Club and the league with respect to SuperDraft, Homegrown and Designated Players.
The off-budget roster slots of 21-28 will now be comprised of two distinct components: the Supplemental Roster (slots 21-24) and the Reserve Roster (slots 25-28).  Note, the parameters for roster slots 21-24 and slots 25-28 have not changed from the 2015 Roster Rules, they have been given separate titles for clarity and ease of reference.
The 2016 Competition Guidelines incorporate key updates to the following areas:
  • Increase in the number of times the Good Behavior Incentive can be applied during the season to allow players a greater opportunity to reduce their yellow-card accumulation
  • Increase in the number of club personnel allowed on the home team bench to accommodate a team physician
  • Decrease in the threshold for the WetBulb Globe Temperature in regards to mandatory hydration breaks from 89.6 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Modification to the Match Postponement Policy such that in the event a match is abandoned at any point prior to its conclusion, it will be postponed, rather than cancelled and/or final. In the event the match is postponed at any point, any remaining time will be completed the following day or as soon as practical.
MLS Executive Vice President of Competition & Player Relations, Todd Durbin will participate in a Q&A on Facebook live video on Thursday, March 10, at 1 p.m. ET, to answer questions from fans and media about the updated Roster Rules and Competition Guidelines. He will also be a guest on’s popular podcast ExtraTime Radio that same day. For more information on the updated Roster Rules and Competition Guidelines please visit