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Major League Soccer adding $37 million in Targeted Allocation and Homegrown Player funds

The league announced the move today, with an eye toward increased investment in "middle-of-the-roster players."

These aren't the "Money Trees" that Kendrick Lamar rapped about, but it's something.

This afternoon, Major League Soccer announced a $37 million investment in player salaries over the next two years. Todd Durbin, MLS Executive VP for Players and Competition, stated that each franchise will be permitted to drop around $2 million more under the proposal.

As Durbin said on the occasion of the announcement:

"We believe that the best way to achieve our strategic goal [to become one of the top leagues in the world by 2022] is to make sure the money is targeted and spent in this area of the roster which we believe, in the short term, is our biggest area of need and allows for the biggest improvement of the product on the field."

While the biggest names in the Beautiful Game will still, in all likelihood, be signed as Designated Players making salaries above the set threshold of $457,500, the new cash will permit MLS's more free-spending owners to do just that in the interest of rounding out their rosters top-to-bottom.

Here's the funding breakdown, as framed by MLS:

  • TAM can be used to sign new players or re-sign current players that earn between $457,500 and $1 million;
  • TAM can be used to buy down a player contract to free up a Designated Player slot. If that happens, the club must simultaneously sign a new Designated Player at an investment equal or greater to than the player he is replacing;
  • Teams are not permitted to combine TAM and general allocation money on a player. Either TAM or general allocation money may be used on a player in a single season, not both;
  • TAM money can be traded by clubs;
  • The minimum budget charge for a player signing that uses TAM funds is $150,000; Any part of the $800,000 in TAM funds that go unused in 2016 will carry over to 2017;
  • Teams are allowed to commit, but not use or disburse, 2017 TAM funds toward a 2016 player contract;
  • Any of the $1.6 million in TAM funds per team that go unused by the end of the 2017 summer transfer window will revert back to the league.

Got it?

We'll have more coverage in the coming days and weeks about how this directly affects New York City specifically. As it stands, it's fair to say that these new rules will plainly benefit MLS's more free-spending franchises, and NYCFC is in the Pantheon when it comes to splashing the cash. Of course, how they spend it is anyone's guess-- nobody forced the team to spend half a million on Adam Nemec and Javier Calle, after all.

But, suffice to say, the opportunities have expanded if New York City wants to get real and sign a defensive midfielder and a competent center back.

So... will this move be more along the lines of "Halle Berry" or "Hallelujah" in the Five Boroughs? That remains to be seen.

But Kendrick Lamar doesn't lie: to paraphrase the Compton ace, "the one in front of the fund lives forever."