You probably thought, now that the MLS season is finally over, you'd have a hard time getting your Sporting Kansas City fix.
Think again. This is a year-round league even if there are no games scheduled until March.
Just yesterday, Kansas City traded unwanted and/or recalcitrant winger Ryan Smith to Chivas USA for two supplemental draft picks and released its protected list for the MLS expansion draft. (Notable unprotected players: Omar Bravo, Seth Sinovic, Michael Harrington, Soony Saad, Eric Kronberg, Jeferson, Craig Rocastle and Milos Stojcev. Kansas City will likely lose one of those players -- and my money is on either Sinovic/Harrington.)
It's only the beginning. Here is a semi-definitive road map to planning out how to follow this MLS offseason.Wednesday
• The Expansion Draft. The Montreal Impact will select 10 players during the 10-round draft. The draft will be held via conference call beginning at 1 p.m.Read more on KC's protected list.
• Waiver Draft. This is for players whose contracts were not picked up for 2012 and are not eligible for the Re-Entry Draft. (More in a second.)Nov. 30
• MLS will release the selection order -- as well as the list of players -- available for the Re-Entry Draft. (Again, more in a second.)Early December (Dates Unknown)
• Teal Bunbury possibly heads to England to train with Bolton Wanderers, according toMLSsoccer.com.
• MLS teams turn in their super-secret Discovery Claim lists. This is a confusing process, but basically if a team wants to sign a foreign player to an MLS contract it has to put a discovery claim on him. (Last year, I know KC put claims on Julio Cesar and Aurelien Collin.)Dec. 5
• Re-Entry Draft, Stage 1. This is how "free agency" works in MLS. Here are the players who are eligible:
1. Players who are at least 23-years-old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2012);
2. Players who are at least 25-years-old with a minimum of four years experience who are out of contract and whose club does not offer them a contract at their previous salary (available at 2011 salary);
3. Players who are at least 30-years-old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not with to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2011 salary).Dec. 12
• Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2. Players who are not selected in Stage 1 will be made available for this draft. Clubs selecting players in Stage 2 will negotiate a new salary with any player not under contract.
Last year, this draft was far more active than Stage 1. KC lost Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff in this stage and gained Luke Sassano via a trade with Los Angeles.Early January (Date Unknown)
• U.S. National Team Camp. The "Cupcake Camp" will feature mostly MLS players. Last year the camp opened on Jan. 4.
• MLS Combine. The pre-cursor to the SuperDraft features most of the top college prospects playing in front of MLS coaches and scouts. (Last year, it was Jan. 7-11.)Jan. 1
• International Transfer Window opens. Sporting president Robb Heineman has already alluded to a Spanish player signing anda player announcement in January
• The SuperDraft. Live from right here in Kansas City, the MLS will hold its rookie entry draft. This year, the draft will be two rounds. Kansas City will have two picks -- the 16th pick in the first round and either the 30th or 35th pick in the second round.**KC traded Kevin Hartman to Dallas for a 2nd round pick but also traded a second round pick to Philadelphia for Shavar Thomas. I'm awaiting word back to see which pick KC still has left. Jan. 17
• The Supplemental Draft. Due to the trade of Ryan Smith to Chivas, KC will have six picks in this draft -- #5, #16, #35, #43, #54 and #73.Late January (Date Unknown)
• Training Camp begins. If Sporting KC abides by its schedule the last few years, the team will convene a light preseason warm-up (and player combine) at the Arrowhead Indoor Training Facility. It's the first chance for the draft picks, trialists and trainees to show the staff what they can do.Feb. 24
• The 2012 Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Kansas City opens group play against the Houston Dynamo. The other group games: vs. Montreal (Feb. 26) and Vancouver (Feb. 29).March 8
• Rumored date for the MLS FirstKick.March 22
• CONCACAF 2012 Summer Olympic qualifying begins. Not technically preseason, but a big date to remember. Livestrong Sporting Parkwill host the semifinals (March 31) and final (April 2)
Editor's Note: As you can see, the off-season will be quite busy. The Full 90 will not be taking a winter hiatus, but we also won't be regularly posting due to time constraints. We'll hit the high spots, break down player movement (but not rumors) and cover the heck out of the various drafts. To stay up-to-date, followingus