The 2020 MLS SuperDraft is just around the corner, and with a new, innovative format to boot. So how does it all work? We've got all the basics — some familiar, some not so much — covered below.
When And How To Watch
Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft will be conducted during a jointly produced MLS and ESPN show that begins at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday, Jan. 9. The show will stream live on Twitter, with an itinerary that includes a live stream and real-time highlights from the event all in one comprehensive experience. That includes cameras embedded with players and club decision-makers, live look-ins on club draft rooms and instant engagement with fans on Twitter during the first round. Rounds 3 and 4 will be conducted via conference call on Monday, Jan. 13.
The majority of draft prospects are NCAA college seniors who have exhausted their college eligibility. Generation adidas players and non-collegiate international players are also eligible for selection in the SuperDraft. Clubs may nominate players for the League's Draft-Eligible List, and only players from that list may be selected.
Many of the players that will be selected have participated in the MLS College Showcase, a new event that was held for the first time last Dec. 13-15.
How The SuperDraft Works
There are four rounds in the SuperDraft, with each team allowed one pick per round. The first two picks are held by expansion sides Inter Miami and Nashville SC, respectively. The following 10 selections are from teams that did not qualify for the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, beginning with the team with fewest 2019 regular-season points (3 points per win, 1 point per tie). The remaining 14 positions are ranked by fewest regular-season points among the teams that were eliminated in the same round of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Many of the selections have already changed hands via trades. Sporting Kansas City currently holds the No. 58 overall pick in the third round and the No. 84 overall pick in the fourth round. View the updated draft order here.
What Happens After
Most picks will enter training camp with the clubs that drafted, but not all will sign contracts to go on an MLS roster. Some players who don't make an MLS roster may also end up signing for an MLS team's USL squad.
A player who was drafted by a particular team through the SuperDraft and did not sign is placed on that team's "College Protected List" until Dec. 31 of the year after the draft, after which the team loses the MLS rights to the player.