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What is an Intraleague Loan Mechanism in MLS?

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In 2013, Major League Soccer instituted a new option for transactions between teams known as an intraleague loan mechanism. What exactly is it and how does it work?

Jeff Vinnick

It was announced Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 the Houston Dynamo and the Colorado Rapids agreed to the first intraleague loan mechanism transfer/trade in league history. The deal saw Tony Cascio head to the Dynamo while the Rapids got an international player slot. But what in the heck is an intrealeague loan mechanism?

It was introduced last year to help get younger players more playing time. It is only available for players under the age of 25. Loans have to be agreed upon during the transfer window and they run through the end of the season. The number of loans any team can take on are infinite and fall under no limit. However, roster considerations and salary are dependent on the terms decided between the two teams.

Initially, MLS did not have any sort of loan mechanism in place but as the league has grown so has a need for such a system. Larger rosters and academies have increased the number of young players available to MLS teams, but there are still only eleven players starting a soccer match. Now that two teams have taken the plunge we will see how many others follow suit.