Charlotte FC came away with three players and $900k in allocation money to use in roster building after the Major League Soccer Expansion Draft held on Tuesday. It’s a strong haul for a team that’s a bit over two months away from its inaugural match at D.C. United on Feb. 26.
The team has already been busy constructing its roster with sporting director Zoran Krneta and new coach Miguel Angel Ramirez scouring the continent — and the globe — for players to build out the squad (updated roster below). In the Expansion Draft they had the chance to pick five players from a pool of 258 players who were left unprotected by their MLS teams (see full list below).
The new club opted to keep No. 1 pick McKinze Gaines, a talented 23-year-old forward who just concluded his first season in MLS after starting his career in Germany. The other players who will stick on the roster are experienced defenders Anton Walkes and Joseph Mora, who are both versatile enough to occupy multiple roles on the back line and even in midfield, if necessary.
But on top of adding players to its roster, Charlotte FC also leveraged it to acquire cash (allocation money) by selecting and later trading players who were on the wish list of other clubs. In trades executed after the Expansion Draft, Charlotte FC cashed in on its No. 4 and No. 5 picks, trading defender Tristan Blackmon to Vancouver and transferring winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to LAFC for a combined $900k in allocation money which can be used to acquire players and pay down contracts to fit under the salary budget.
“It’s flexibility. It gives us the chance to slowly continue building the squad and gives us the flexiblity to pick the players we really want to pick,” Krneta said on the draft broadcast about the cash acquired. “It gives us a kind of independence where we are in control, rather than the players or the agents or other clubs.”
Charlotte FC Expansion Draft Picks
* = Players traded after the Expansion Draft
* Charlotte trades Tristan Blackmon to the Vancouver Whitecaps for nearly $500,000 in Generla Allocation Money ($350,000 in 2022 and $125,000 in 2023)
** Charlotte trades Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to LAFC for $400,000 in General Allocation Money
Charlotte FC 2022 Roster
Updated as of Dec. 14
How the MLS Expansion Draft works
According to league rules, five clubs were exempt from having their rosters exposed to the Expansion Draft, since they lost players in last year’s edition to Austin FC. Those five clubs were the LA Galaxy; Nashville SC; NY Red Bulls; Orlando City; and San Jose Earthquakes.
The rest of the 22 MLS teams were only able to protect up to 12 of their players, exposing the rest for possible selection by Charlotte in the Expansion Draft (complete rules here).
Charlotte FC could only pick a single player from any one team’s unprotected list. And any team that had a player claimed from its roster will be granted $50,000 in general allocation money from the league as compensation.
Expansion Draft Eligible Players (Unprotected List)
The following 258 players were left unprotected by their teams and are available for selection by Charlotte FC in the Dec. 14 Expansion Draft (bold and asterisk indicate player selected by Charlotte FC):
Atlanta United (14)
Austin FC (14)
Chicago Fire (8)
FC Cincinnati (14)
Colorado Rapids (10)
Columbus Crew (13)
FC Dallas (7)
D.C. United (15)
Houston Dynamo (15)
Sporting Kansas City (5)
Inter Miami (13)
Minnesota United FC (17)
CF Montreal (10)
New England Revolution (11)
New York City FC (12)
Philadelphia Union (10)
Portland Timbers (14)
Real Salt Lake (10)
Seattle Sounders (11)
Toronto FC (8)
Vancouver Whitecaps (13)
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