The 2021 Major League Soccer season will begin in early April as scheduled after the league and the MLS Players Association reached a tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Friday.
The agreement, which will cover the next seven years, through the 2027 season, will become official once league owners and the MLS Players Association hold votes to ratify the new CBA.
The agreement will help MLS avoid the first work stoppage in league history, which started to look like a possibility as MLS owners set a hard deadline to finalize an agreement this week.
The owners have succeeded in extending the new CBA deal beyond 2026, when the looming World Cup in North America could present a financial boost for players. Securing an extension through the 2027 season appears to be a major victory for MLS owners, and significant concession by the MLS PA.
According to ESPN, the new CBA will include no cuts to salaries in 2021, along with improved terms for free agency in 2026 and 2027, when players 24 years of age and older with at least four years of service time would be eligible. The previous CBA agreement required five years of service time.
MLS teams are scheduled to begin training camps starting on Feb. 22, with the 2021 season scheduled to begin the weekend of April 3-4.