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Designated Player Rule: Wikis


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The Designated Player Rule, nicknamed the Beckham Rule, was adopted as part of the salary cap regulations of Major League Soccer for the 2007 season. The rule allows each MLS franchise to sign one player that would be considered outside of the teams' salary cap, allowing U.S. and Canadian teams to compete for star players in the international soccer market.

The salary cap was estimated to be around US$1.9 million in 2006[1], was $2.1 million in 2007 and was raised to $2.3 million for the 2008 season.[2][3]

Under the rule:

  • For each designated player, $415,000[3][4] of his salary is charged to the salary cap, with any remaining salary toward the player being imposed on the individual owner, and not counted against the cap. The cap hit was increased for the 2009 season from $400,000 the previous two seasons.
  • Prior to the 2007 season, there were four players whose salary exceeded $400,000. These players include Landon Donovan, Carlos Ruiz and Eddie Johnson. According to the rule, they were grandfathered in for the 2007 season. The exemption was extended after the season, with the league planning to review the issue at a future date, possibly requiring the players contracts to be renegotiated or to be considered a designated player. Prior to the start of the 2008 MLS season, Johnson moved to Fulham of the Premier League[1]. After Dwayne DeRosario was signed by Toronto FC in January 2009, Ruiz was released by the club causing him to leave MLS to play for Olimpia Asunción. Donovan is the lone player whose 2009 salary remains grandfathered under the exemption provision. However, there are several more players whose guaranteed salary exceed the DP amount, but whose salary cap expense is actually lower than their true salary thanks to the allocation rule. These players include Shalrie Joseph ($450,000), Christian Gomez ($430,000), Dwayne De Rosario ($425,750) and Taylor Twellman ($420,000).
  • There will initially be one designated player slot available to each team in the league. A team can trade their designated player slot; teams are allowed a maximum of two slots.
  • Only $335,000[3] of a team's second designated player will count against the salary cap, an increase from $325,000 in 2008.



The rule will apply for three years, until the end of the 2009 MLS season, when its future will be reviewed.

It is informally named after football star David Beckham, in anticipation of MLS teams signing lucrative deals with internationally recognized players of Beckham's calibre.[5] As it turned out, Beckham was indeed the first player to be signed under this rule, signing a lucrative contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy for up to $50 million in direct salary for five years, with a base salary of $6.5 million per year.[6]

Due to trade deals, the New York Red Bulls are the only club to possess two designated player slots.

Current Designated Players

Year Signed Player Club Salary
2007 England Beckham, DavidDavid Beckham Los Angeles Galaxy $6,500,000
2007 Colombia Angel Juan PabloJuan Pablo Ángel New York Red Bulls $1,798,000
2009 Sweden Ljungberg, FreddieFreddie Ljungberg Seattle Sounders FC $1,314,000
2009 Mexico Landín, Luis ÁngelLuis Ángel Landín Houston Dynamo $n/a
2009 Canada de Guzmán, JulianJulian de Guzmán Toronto FC $956,350
  • Chart indicates when players signed under their designated player contract, not necessarily their first year in MLS.
  • Players salaries include compensation from each player's contract with MLS and do not include any performance bonuses or compensation from any contracts with individual teams or their affiliates, and represent 2009 guaranteed compensation as of March 15, 2009.[7]

Past Designated Players

  • † – indicates players who still continued to play in MLS, but had their contracts negotiated down below the Designated Player cap.
  • ‡ – indicates players who originally signed with MLS at a salary lower than the Designated Player cap but who later had their salary increased to over the cap.

Most Designated Players per Country

Designated Player Slot Trades & Deals

See also


External links



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