It may be the offseason, but the Loons’ preparations for the 2018 season are well underway. Here are some important dates on the road to opening day that you should add to your calendar.
Option Exercise Deadline: November 27
Teams will make their first moves for next season by announcing whose options are and are not being exercised and which players are receiving offers for new contracts.
Half-Day Trade Window: December 10
After a three-month roster freeze, teams will have four hours to wheel and deal trades and sign players across the league. Once the window closes at noon, teams will no longer be able to sign or trade their own players who are eligible to be selected in the Expansion Draft.
Expansion Draft: December 12
Los Angeles Football Club joins MLS in 2018 and, like Minnesota, will do a significant amount of roster building through the Expansion Draft. The other 22 teams will protect up to 11 players from being taken, with Generation adidas and Homegrown Players being automatically exempt from selection. The newest club in the league will then have its pick of five players that have not been protected by their respective clubs.
Home Opener Release: Mid-December
There is nothing more exciting than the countdown to opening day. Each team will learn the dates and opponents for their first matches right in the middle of the holiday season. So get ready to clear your schedule for March.
Full Schedule Release: January
The full regular season schedule will be made public shortly after the New Year. January may be frigid in Minnesota, but you can already start dreaming of warm summer nights with the Loons.
Adidas MLS Player Combine: January 9 – 17
Top college prospects will head to Orlando for this year’s combine. Here, they will show off their skills for coaches and scouts from all the teams in the league with the hope of being selected in the SuperDraft.
2018 SuperDraft: January 19
Coaching staffs and top talent will gather in Philadelphia for the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. The Loons picked up Rookie of the Year finalist Abu Danladi with the first overall pick last year, and will look to bring in another top talent in 2018.
Preseason Begins: January 22
In just a few short months, the players will reassemble and begin their preseason training camp. New faces will come together with veteran Loons as Adrian Heath begins to build his strategy for a playoff push in 2018.
Carolina Challenge Cup: February 17 – 24
The Loons will get to test their mettle against Columbus Crew SC, Atlanta United and the USL’s Charleston Battery in a preseason tournament. This will be Minnesota’s first time participating in this tournament, which was founded in 2004.