Spring may seem a long way off, but there is plenty of action in the MLS offseason to make time fly by.
November 26: Option Exercise Deadline
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
December 8: MLS Cup Final
The 2018 season comes to a dramatic conclusion as the winners of the Eastern and Western Conferences battle for the title of MLS Cup Champion.
December 9: Half-Day Trade Window 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT
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 and they will be eligible to be selected in the Expansion Draft.
December 11: MLS Expansion Draft @ 1 p.m., Free Agency Begins @ 2 p.m.
FC Cincinnati is joining MLS in 2019 and will get to make five selections from clubs around the league in the Expansion Draft. Ahead of the draft, teams will submit a list of 11 players to protect from being selected by the new team. Designated Players and homegrown players are automatically protected. After the draft concludes, Free Agency will begin for all out-of-contract players who meet the requirements.
December 12: MLS Waiver Draft
All MLS teams will have a chance to select players who have been waived and do not qualify for Free Agency or the Re-Entry Draft. These are mostly younger players who are new to the league.
December 14 & 20: MLS Re-Entry Draft Stages 1 & 2
Teams will get to pick out-of-contract players who meet the age and league experience requirements for the draft or Free Agents who elect to participate. Teams will have two opportunities to pick eligible players and must give them a bona fide offer within a week of selection.
Mid-December: Home Opener Announcement
All MLS teams will learn the dates and opponents for their 2019 home openers by the middle of the month. At least two MNUFC games will be announced on this date, including the first-ever game at Allianz Field.
January 3–9: adidas MLS Player Combine
As the new season draws near, the best college stars in the country will gather in Orlando for the adidas MLS Player Combine. Top college recruits will play a series of games at Orlando City Stadium, allowing technical staffs from each team to get an up-close look at future prospects.
January 11: MLS SuperDraft
Shortly after the combine, the coaching staffs and players will make a trek up to Chicago for the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Over the course of four rounds, teams will select eligible college players to join their squad for the upcoming season. MNUFC did very well at the draft last season, snagging three first-round picks in Mason Toye, Wyatt Omsberg and Carter Manley.
Mid-January: Full 2019 Schedule Release
The season will be here before you know it. The rest of the league schedule will come out early in the new year, allowing you to start dreaming of summer afternoons at Allianz Field.
January: Preseason Begins
A little over two months from now, players will begin to report to training camps as they start to prepare for the 2019 MLS Season. Head Coach Adrian Heath will begin molding his skilled veterans and new additions together as the team looks to make a statement in 2019.