There will be soccer this weekend after all. MLS and the Player's Union agreed to a new 5 year collective bargaining agreement tonight which ensures that the season will kick off as scheduled on Friday. The player's union voted to strike late on Wednesday night after reviewing the league's latest proposal yesterday but both sides continued negotiations this morning leading to an accord preventing the first work stoppage in MLS history. Neither side could afford to delay the season or sit through a prolonged stoppage and the deal appears to include concessions from both sides.
According to various reports the known details are as follows:
- Players that are 28 years of age and with at least 8 years of experience will be eligible for free agency.
- The raises available to free agents are capped. Players making less than $100,000.00 per year can increase wages by 125%. Players making between $100,00o.00 and $200,000.00 annually can receive an increase up to 120% of their last salary, and players making over $200,000.00 can increase pay by 115%.
- The minimum salary is raised to $60,000.00 (up from $36,500.00 in 2014).
- The minimum will increase incrementally over the course of the agreement.
- The cap/budget will increase with some reports placing it at a 15% hike.
There has been no word yet on changes to Designated Player limits or roster sizes although clubs were of the belief that slots would be reduced to 24 or 25. The Fire currently have 25 players under contract.
GK Johnson, Busch, Kann
D Jones, Palmer, Larentowicz, Adailton, Gehrig, Doody, Polster, Cochrane
M Maloney, Shipp, Cocis, Watson, Ritter, Stephens, Alex, Nyarko, Fernandez
F Magee, Accam, do Prado, Amarikwa, Igboananike
The deal could have been better for players, specifically the age restriction for free agency limits young players, but the ability for any movement is certainly a step in the right direction. I'm sure this will all be revisited come 2020.