MLS Next Pro roster rules announced

MLS has finally released all their roster rules for MLS Next Pro (sometimes referred to as MLS 2) for their opening season of play. On the most surface level, MLS Next Pro rosters will consist of up to 35 players, 24 of whom can be pro and 11 amateurs.

After looking over the rules, here are some bullet points of interest.

MLS Next Pro Roster Rules

  • Each team has 7 international slots, something of importance to FC Dallas.
  • All 35 players are eligible for any given game.
  • The 24 professional players will include any players on loan.
  • No Salary Cap or min/max salary.
  • No age limit on the players.
  • Roster complience by 8 pm ET on March 18, 2022.
  • Contract is with the MLS NEXT Pro Club and Clubs will provide/execute all supplemental documents as applicable to the League Office.
  • Option years deterimed by the club.
  • For Canadian clubs, US domestic players are considered dometic. But the reverse is NOT true in the US for Canadian domestic players.
  • International Roster Slots may be traded temproairly just like in MLS.

Amateur Players

  • Maximum of five (5) MLS NEXT youth academy players per team on the field during an official match.
  • 21 and younger before start of season.
  • Can’t have played in NCAA soccer.
  • Can’t have signed or be recognized as pro by NCAA or FIFA.
  • Must play for or have previously played for club’s affiliate youth club.

Transfer Window Dates

  • Primary Transfer Window: February 10, 2022 – May 4, 2022
  • Secondary Transfer Window: July 7, 2022 – August 4, 2022


  1. So does Dallas put their top 7-8 academy prospects in the roster to start the season…leave room for a few more in the summer window… rather than simply inviting whoever is playing well at the time?

    1. My instinct is, as you suggest, they won’t fill all 11 right away. They can also change them in and out, I believe, until the freeze. You may also be right (I hadn’t thought of this angle), depending on when the freeze is, they might want to wait and see who comes in for the fall Acad season start.

  2. Do you see our late first round pick occupying one of the 7 international spots? Or do you see him claiming a spot with the senior team?

  3. Weird question maybe, but with there be no salary cap, what stops a club like Atlanta from signing a player with a $5mil salary to their MLS Next team and loaning said player to Their first team, but only taking on league minimum salary on their books?

    1. Nothing prevents the player from signing for MLS2 at that price.
      But you can’t add a loan to the MLS roster without adding his salary as the receiving club pays the salary.

  4. So no rules (yet) on how players may or may not shuttle between the first team and the reserve team? i guess they are still hammering that out.

    1. Going down the limit is basically the roster limit of 24 pros (aka nobody cares, do what you want going down)
      Going up, it’s however many you want subject to MLS roster rules of player limits and aqcuition.

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