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MLS By Acronyms

By Vaughn Pollman

MLS : Major League Soccer…’s the name of the league, which was founded as the top tier of American soccer on December 17, 1993, and began play in 1996. The league is about to start it’s 26th season this April 17.

GAM : General Allocation Money…..funds given by the league each year as part of a team’s salary budget. These funds are used for transfer fees, player contracts and are a tradeable asset. In 2022, MLS teams will start with $1.625 million of GAM. If history holds, as an expansion team, CLTFC will have the benefit of starting with closer to $2.5 million of GAM to help them build their inaugural roster. GAM is “use it or lose it” and does not roll over from one year to the next, so a team with a balanced budget will use every last penny as it is “free money” from the league.

dTAM : Discretionary Targeted Allocation Money….similar, but different than GAM. dTAM is money teams are allowed to but not required to use. dTAM is paid by a team’s owner/operator at their own discretion. This money is less flexible than GAM in its allowed use but can be very helpful in building a competitive roster as it essentially expands a team’s salary budget by each dollar used. dTAM cannot be traded as it is basically just cash with restrictions on use. In 2022, dTAM is limited to $2.8 million, which Charlotte FC should absolutely spend if they plan to be highly competitive. I’m speaking to you, Mr. Tepper.

DP : Designated Player….typically a team’s best players. Teams are allowed up to 3 DP’s whose annual salary and fees exceed the maximum budget charge. Basically, the guys making the most money, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Carlos Vela. The max budget charge (or DP threshold) is always 12.5% of the salary budget, so a DP, no matter how much money they make, will always take up 12.5% of a team’s budget, unless they are a YDP (see below). A DP’s cap hit can be “bought down” using allocation money to get below the DP threshold, thus allowing a team to sign another talented DP. The best teams use all 3 available DP spots. Are you still reading Mr. Tepper?

YDP : Young Designated Players….a Designated Player that is younger than 23 years old. They cost a team considerably less money against the salary budget than an older DP: $150k if they are age 20 and younger, or $200k if they are aged 21-23. Basically, it’s a good idea to sign a YDP. Both Diego Rossi and Ezequiel Barco are examples of recent high-profile YDP signings.

HGP : Homegrown Player…..a player that has played at least one year for a team’s Academy before signing their first professional contract, a Homegrown Player contract. These are the hometown kids that become hometown heroes. Teams are unlimited in the number of HGP’s they may sign. Two benefits of signing an HGP are that they may be placed on a team’s supplemental roster, making their salary not count against the salary budget, and Homegrown Players are exempt from selection in future expansion drafts.

GA : Generation Adidas….Generation Adidas contracts are signed by a select few college underclassmen ahead of the MLS SuperDraft. These contracts are reserved for some of the top young talents in the draft and are sponsored by Adidas and the league. A player on a Generation Adidas contract does not count against a team’s salary budget until they have graduated from the Generation Adidas program. This year’s first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, Daniel Pereira is a Generation Adidas player, for example.

DGW: Double Game Week….a term most widely used in Fantasy MLS leagues, but refers to any week when a team has two games, such as on a Wednesday and Saturday. These have become more frequent with congested schedules due to short and/or rushed seasons due to COVID. DGW’s lead to roster rotation, so teams with the best depth can better handle the rigors and physical challenges of a DGW.

PSL: Personal Seat License….a bad idea that shouldn’t exist in MLS, or really any major league sport as it minimizes the fan experience for many by further limiting who can afford season tickets and suppresses the communal voice of a fanbase by creating an unnecessary barrier of entry. PSL’s can be a PR (Public Relations) nightmare…………….Hope you read till the end Mr. Tepper.


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