Now that MLS Cup has put the finishing touch on the 2015 MLS season it's time to start preparing for next year. There isn't much down time in the off season with training camps set to begin at the end of next month. The Waiver Draft will take place on Wednesday, followed by the first stage of Re-Entry on Friday. MLS has released the full list of players that are available via Free Agency and the Re-Entry draft, and there are some familiar names to be found.
26 players eligible for Free Agency:
Goalkeepers - Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (Seattle Sounders), Kyle Reynish (New York Red Bulls), Andrew Weber (Portland Timbers)
Defenders - Corey Ashe (Orlando City SC), Bobby Burling (Colorado Rapids), Ty Harden (Chicago Fire), Michael Harrington (Colorado Rapids), Stephen Keel (FC Dallas), Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids), James Riley (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders - Eric Avila (Orlando City SC), Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Ned Grabavoy (New York City FC), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire), Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact), Paulo Nagamura (Sporting Kansas City), Nathan Sturgis,(Houston Dynamo)
Forwards - Chad Barrett (Seattle Sounders), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union), Kenny Cooper (Montreal Impact), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire)
The Re-Entry list includes:
Goalkeepers - Joe Bendik (Toronto FC), Josh Ford (Orlando City SC), Tally Hall (Orlando City SC), Alec Kann (Chicago Fire), Chris Konopka (Toronto FC), Matt Lampson (Columbus Crew SC), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union), Brian Perk (LA Galaxy), Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy), Paolo Tornaghi (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Defenders - Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jalil Anibaba (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jeb Brovsky (New York City FC), Hassoun Camara (Montreal Impact), Greg Cochrane (Chicago Fire), Leonardo Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders), Tony Lochhead, Tommy Meyer (LA Galaxy), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Pa Modou Kah (Vancouver Whitecaps), Lovel Palmer (Chicago Fire), Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake), Zach Scott (Seattle Sounders), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), Bakary Soumare (FC Dallas), Jordan Stewart (San Jose Earthquakes), Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Anthony Wallace (New York Red Bulls), Kwame Watson-Siriboe (New York City FC)
Midfielders - Carlos Alvarez (Colorado Rapids), Tony Cascio (Orlando City SC), Warren Creavalle (Philadelphia Union), Danny Cruz (Philadelphia Union), Andy Dorman (New England Revolution), Michael Farfan (D.C United), Fred (Philadelphia Union), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Jeremy Hall (New England Revolution), Jackson (Toronto FC), Alex Lopez (Houston Dynamo), Michel (FC Dallas), Michael Nanchoff (Portland Timbers), Lewis Neal (Orlando City SC), Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders), Mauro Rosales (Vancouver Whitecaps), Matt Watson (Chicago Fire)
Forwards - Jairo Arrieta (D.C. United), FW Bright Dike, Robbie Findley (Toronto FC), Mike Fucito (San Jose Earthquakes), Chandler Hoffman (Houston Dynamo), Antoine Hoppenot (Philadelphia Union), Jason Johnson (Chicago Fire), Danny Mwanga (Orlando City SC), Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls), Charlie Rugg (LA Galaxy), Vicente Sanchez (Colorado Rapids), Gabriel Torres (Colorado Rapids), Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers)
Berry/Bone are free
Former Fire players Austin Berry and Corben Bone have signed on with USL side FC Cincinnati. The pair were among an 11 player group featured as the first signings for the new club coached by John Harkes. Berry, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year while with the Fire, spent last season with FC Anyang in the South Korean second division. A dip in form combined with an unstable situation in Philadelphia and a litany of injuries and illness led to the Union loaning him out. Berry will have a chance to work his way into a possible MLS return if he can show he’s back in form with a club in his hometown.
More MLS changes/expansion
Over the weekend, MLS announced a handful of interesting updates as result of the League’s Board of Governors meeting in Columbus on Saturday before MLS Cup. The possibility of expansion to 28 teams got most of the headlines but the one item that could affect the Fire immediately is the discussion surrounding additional Targeted Allocation Money for 2016. MLS will release more details on TAM in the “near future” but the speculation is that it will be enough to buy down a DP in similar fashion to the mechanism that was used to “buy down” Kennedy Igboananike last summer. The Fire currently have three DP’s on the roster and buying down Igboananike again would allow them to add another if they choose to do so.
Two trades involving some form of MLS “funny money” have already gone down. The Union have acquired midfielder Chris Pontius from DC United in exchange for an undisclosed combination of General and Targeted Allocation money. DC in turn picked up Lamar Neagle from Seattle for another amount that wasn’t enumerated.
Philadelphia has been busy. They shipped Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger to Houston in a trade for the 6th pick in the upcoming SuperDraft and a combination of that General and Targeted Allocation money.
Among the other tidbits was an announced two week break, from June 2 to June 14, during the Copa America Centenario tournament to be held in the US.
Veljko Paunovic and Logan Pause were in attendance in Winston Salem, NC this past weekend as Stanford defeated Wake Forest in the College Cup tournament.
Rumors continue to circulate about an MLS move for Carlos Vela, although the player seemed to shoot them down for now. In a tweet that featured an emoji indicative of shall we say, rubbish, Vela downplayed any talk of a move away from Real Sociedad.
This story provides a bit of background on the financial ramifications of the potential transfer fee for Vela's services. Even if he were to move away from Spain this January it doesn't seem sensible, given Nelson Rodriguez's comments regarding DP additions last week, to believe that the Fire are in line to pony up an $18 million dollar transfer fee on top of the reported $8 million dollar annual salary that he would demand from MLS.