The 2021 Major League Soccer expansion draft explained

MLS Expansion draft explained
MLS Expansion draft explained / Ira L. Black - Corbis/GettyImages

What is it?

The Expansion Draft is one of the primary forms of acquiring players for new entrants to the league. Major League Soccer expansion teams are given the opportunity to make five selections from a list of available players from every existing team.

This year, Charlotte FC are the only club that will be selecting in the draft as they look to debut in 2022. 

How does it work?

Prior to the draft, every team in the league must create a list of 12  “protected players.” Any player on that list is subsequently ineligible to be selected by the expansion side. 

Players without the protected status are subject to be chosen by the newest MLS member and immediately traded. 

Charlotte FC will be able to make five selections from the list of eligible players. 

During the draft, Charlotte will be permitted three minutes for each selection with no timeouts. Trades are not permitted during the draft.

Five teams that had players selected by Austin FC in last year's draft will be exempt from having players selected: LA Galaxy, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC and San Jose Earthquakes.

You can find the list for every eligible player here.

When is it?

  • Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 7 pm ET

Where to watch it?

  • Simulcast nationally on and the MLS app