U is for Football Manager MLS Rules (USA) by @SamFM52

The good old United States of America. Land of the free, home of the brave, inventor of meals so large you get them for free if you finish them. The United States is also home to the MLS, which is an acronym for My Last Season. Sorry, I mean Major League Soccer.

Most non football Manager football fans think of the MLS as a joke and that any MLS would be relegated from the National League South if it ever competed there (which is false, but I’m not going to get into that).

But Football Manager fans know the MLS for one main thing. Not the super draft, not being a retirement home for former world stars. Not even for the surprising amount of really good regens that you can sign for free from their various academies. No, in the Football Manager sphere, the MLS is known for one thing. Specifically, one email. This email;

According to research from statistical website CompletelyMadeUpStatistics.com

83% of all MLS saves are scrapped upon reading this email. And for good reason. Science’s greatest minds have analysed this email for centuries and are still no closer to understanding it. MLS’s contract rules are by far and away the most confusing in the game. I mean, it’s the only league where you get a specific email about the contract rules because they are so complicated. So despite having the IQ of a deep-fried cheese sandwich, I thought I would do my best to try and break down all the different contracts and their rules for you. What could possibly go wrong?

Designated Players

You only get 2 of these normally. But you can go and buy one at the start of each season for about 130K. These are used to sign your big, ageing stars from Europe that could still do a job in a top side in Europe. You know the ones. Your Zlatan’s, your Hazard’s, your Vardy’s, and your Scott Carson’s. The big dogs.

These are who you offer your massive 100K+ wages to. Only 13K of these wages count towards the salary cap.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention there is a salary cap as well. There are also Young Designated Players who are younger top-class players. Imagine if Endrick decided to play in the MLS.


These are your standard contracts. These do count towards the salary cap, which is usually about £87K. I play in Pound Sterling because I’m British, so it will be a little bit more if you play in Euro’s or Dollars.

Senior Minimum Salary

These are for players over the age of 25 that have a wage of 1.9K. These can either be registered using Off-Budget or On-Budget slots


.These are for players on the minimum salary of 1.4K who are under the age of 25. They do not count towards the salary cap

Generation Adidas players

These are the best players to come through the draft. They do not count towards the salary cap.

See, not confusing at all.

There is no reason why anyone should possibly get confused at all. (for those like me who struggle to recognise sarcasm, that was it.)

For real, though, the USA is a fun nation to do a save in. The contracts are really the most confusing part, but once you get through that, it’s fun.

One final thing to talk about is trading. Like every sport in America, instead of signing players from each other like a normal person, the MLS uses trades instead.

My thinking for this is that Americans find money confusing so they are still using the bartering system. You can trade draft allocations, allocation money, players and even international player slots. The draft will usually only have about 10 or so good players that can actually make a big difference, so it’s worth trading for earlier draft picks.

Anyway, that ends this guide to the confusing land of the MLS.
I hope you enjoyed it and that you are now a little less confused.

For previous A-Z entries, please visit: The A-Z of Football Manager.