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MLS NEXT Pro announce roster rules: No salary cap, no age limits

Courtesy MLS NEXT Pro

Courtesy MLS NEXT Pro

MLS NEXT Pro announced roster guidelines for the league’s inaugural season, set to start next month. New York City FC is one of the 21 founding members of MLS NEXT Pro, which will serve as a farm league for MLS clubs.

The rules are significantly more straightforward than the Byzantine regulations that govern MLS clubs. For example, there is no salary cap for the squad, there is no minimum or maximum salary for individual players, and all player contracts will be held by the club rather than the league. 

MLS NEXT Pro roster guidelines:

  • No salary cap
  • No limits on player compensation, with no minimum or maximum salary
  • Contracts will be executed with individual MLS NEXT Pro clubs
  • No age limits for players
  • Active roster comprised of up to 35 players
  • Roster slots 1-24 are for professional players 
  • Roster slots 25-35 are for amateur players
  • A maximum of five MLS NEXT youth academy players per team may be on the field at any time during an official match
  • Up to seven international players per roster
  • International spots may be traded, expire at end of season
  • Primary transfer window is February 10, 2022 to May 4, 2022
  • Secondary transfer window is July 7, 2022 to August 4, 2022

NYCFC II, the team that NYCFC will field in MLS NEXT Pro, is set to open the season in late March. There is much to be done before then. No manager or coaching staff has been announced, and little information about the team has been made public. 

However, it is expected that three Homegrown Players signed last month by NYCFC will play for NYCFC II. On January 19, issued a statement announcing that 20-year-old defender Nicholas Benalcazar, 20-year-old forward Jonathan Jimenez, and 21-year-old defender Samuel Owusu “will participate with NYCFC II in MLS Next Pro competition in 2022.” 

You can read about those and other signings in the NYCFC Transfer Tracker.

In addition, NYCFC II could add the three players selected by NYCFC in the 2022 SuperDraft that took place on January 11. City drafted forward Kevin O’Toole, a senior at Princeton University who was twice named All-Ivy Offensive Player of the Year, forward Kingsford Adjei, a senior at the University of Dayton, and forward El Mahdi Youssoufi, a senior at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights who scored 13 goals in 16 league games.