How will the upcoming MLS roster rule changes impact NYCFC?

  • MLS is set to introduce changes to the roster rules
  • How will they impact NYCFC?
Thiago Martins of NYCFC
Thiago Martins of NYCFC / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Many feel that New York City FC and the rest of Major League Soccer are held back due to the league's roster rules. This limits the teams' spending and who they can sign. In addition, the strict rules make it difficult to compete with other leagues that can offer more money. Many hoped Lionel Messi's arrival would bring change. There were even rumors of a fourth Designated Player. Unfortunately, that did not immediately happen.

However, reports are coming out that MLS rules will change slightly this summer. It is not perfect, but it could lead to further changes down the road. According to the Athletic, the owners voted on roster rule changes that would be implemented in the secondary transfer window. These changes impact the DPs and Under-22 initiative players.

As of now, teams can only have one U-22 player if they have three senior DPs. In order to have three U-22 players, a roster must have one young DP or a DP that can be brought down with Targeted Allocation Money, or TAM.

Thankfully, the owners voted to have three DPs and three U-22 players with no restrictions. In addition, teams could have two DPs and four U-22 players with up to $2 million in general allocation money, or GAM. This gives teams like NYCFC the flexibility to build their roster as they see fit.

NYCFC and the new and upcoming roster rules

The roster changes will also allow for two roster buyouts and an increase in converting transfer money into GAM. These changes are long overdue and will ideally lead to more changes before the 2025 season. But what does this mean for NYCFC?

Unless there are any transfers out this summer, there will likely be no changes in the DP and U-22 players. Of course, if a DP player is bought down or agrees to change their contract, then anything can change. NYCFC currently has three DPs (one senior, two young) and three U-22 players. The fact they had at least one young DP allowed for them to construct their roster like that.

Although, despite announcing Agustín Ojeda as a U-22 signing, he is not listed as such a player. There might be an opening if the team and Ojeda agreed to a contract change early in the season. That would be a puzzling change, so it might be possible the club did not update all of his information on the website. Alexandru Mitriță is still listed as being out on loan after all...

Nonetheless, Mounsef Bakrar and Julián Fernández are the other U-22 players. Then, Thiago Martins is a senior DP and Talles Magno and Santiago Rodríguez are young DPs. Many would argue that Martins should not be a DP. If he could be brought down using TAM, then perhaps NYCFC could bring in a European star this summer and sign him to a DP contract.

The Pigeons could utilize more GAM though when it comes to transfers and signing players. Whether they will do so is unknown. At least the option is there.

It is not expected the DP and U-22 change will impact NYCFC this summer. At the same time, the hope of signing a star still exists. Looking ahead, these changes will be great for the club and all teams within MLS. More importantly, this illuminates the willingness to change, paving the way for more changes in the future.