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MLS to scrap Supplemental Draft

Kheli Dube ( 

College soccer players and pro prospects hoping to be drafted by MLS teams this winter will have a lot fewer opportunities for that to happen.

MLS has decided to scrap the MLS Supplemental Draft, multiple sources confirmed to SBI on Thursday. The four-round draft was an annual event which usually followed a week after the MLS Draft.

With MLS reducing the number of supplemental roster spots and eliminating the reserve division, the need to fill out rosters with developmental players has been reduced, this diminishing the need for the extra draft rounds.

The Supplemental has produced its share if quality players in recent years, including MLS rookie of the year finalist Kheli Dube of New England in 2008 and New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Danny Cepero in 2007.

The development may actually be a blessing for free agents who are not selected in the 2009 MLS Draft, set for Jan. 15th in St. Louis. Rather than being chosen in the Supplemental Draft and having the drafting team hold their rights, undrafted players will be free to try out for the team or teams of their choosing.

What do you think of this development? Saddened that your team won't be able to land any diamonds in the rough? Wondering what teams will do now to make lowball offers? Curious as to what Carlos Ruiz's trade value is now that supplemental picks are no longer available?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. They Should Keep the supplemental Draft for people who dont get the opportunity to be in the superdraft. They can always cut players so there’s nothing wrong with keeping the supplemental. Where would “Kheli Dube” (MLS 2008 Rookie of the year) be without the supplemental draft?

  2. I think this was forced by the CBA. With the reduction to 24 roster spots, MLS has to let those not taken in the SuperDraft pick what preseason camp they want to try to get in.

    I don’t think anyone taken in the supplemental draft has actually earned a contract by the selection. With the cutting of 6 dev spots, MLS teams won’t typically have room but for 2-4 draftees each year.

  3. I fear that MLS is continuing to cut costs by eliminating anything resembling roster depth.

    Will the “Superdraft” still be only 4 rounds? Will it still include Generation Adidas players (so the salary cap exempt Nick Besagnos of the world get lumped in with 4-year college players that might be ready to contribute)?

  4. Dolan… its only busch league if Rolfie didnt put my Cell # and personal email on Luis RedCard Blog… got to fight fire with fire

  5. So how many roster spots are there going to be for each team. Is it less than 28 now, since there is no reserves. and why did they get rid of the reserves. I think thats a good idea, to get the backups playing time.

  6. BTW, it affects the USL in no-way. If RBNY had drafted a player in the Supplemental draft, that has no restriction on going with the USL over the MLS team. The supplemental draft only limited what MLS team you could play for–nothing more.

    The USL probably gets more talent for two reasons:
    –contraction (no Atlanta, Seattle moving to MLS so fewer MLS teams competing for more talent)
    –elimination of MLS reserve sides with overall smaller rosters.
    But elimination of the Supplemental draft (given the two factors above) would have no impact on the USL.

  7. Ruiz and Supplemental drafts are still on par as far as value is concerned.

    Im sure this comment has been posted a billion times already

  8. I can think of nothing bad about this story. It will be good for the players, good for MLS, and should be good for the USL. Kudos to whoever pulled the trigger on this one.

  9. It’s a good idea. Only the teams, players they drafted and a few MLS internet nuts (I’m one) paid attention to it. The concept was confusing to everyone else. With the league continuing to expand, it means more players get drafted anyway. It just puts a higher priority on not trading away all your picks (and doing your due diligence before hand so you don’t draft a bunch of guys who aim to go overseas and end up with nothing).

  10. Let’s say a player coming out of college is projected to go first in the draft. The team with the top pick is not a team he wants to play for (say,…RBNY). Before he mves on to a 2nd division Danish side, he’d like to play in MLS, but for another team.

    Prior to the draft would he and his agent be able to create enough uncertainty about the player “not wanting to play in MLS”, that the player “might just go over to Europe to begin his career”, etc. in order to get RBNY and other teams to not pick him. Then, once the draft is over, the player coud “decide” to play in MLS, but now he’s a free agent with a better bargaining position and more choices.

    I’m unsure how the rules are drafted, so maybe I’m completely missing something. If anyone has an idea if this scenario would work let me know. Thanks.

  11. The Supplemental Draft has been a silly after thought for awhile. No one could understand why the SuperDraft wasn’t a couple rounds longer. So long Supplemental.

  12. It does mean that the pre draft trading of draft picks could get quite interesting since the spread of picks per team is from as low as 2 to a high of 7 picks. Just a bit more spice to our winter hot stove league event.

  13. The fewer drafts the better, IMO.

    Let teams scout and find their futures without a formal draft. It’s unnecessary in a sport when the best players in the world are often identified by the time they are teenagers.

  14. this move was a long time coming.

    Considering how poorly the typical Supplemental Pick gets paid, its in those players best interests to be able to find the best fit if they have MLS ambitions.

  15. Remember that the NFL did much the same thing, when they reduced the draft from 12 to 7 rounds. Coupled with the roster reduction, it only makes sense. This should help the USL, too, if they want to sell/loan a player, right?


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