Photo: Paul Rudderow
Philadelphia Union declined contract options for midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi and goalkeeper Chase Harrison, leaving each out of contract and available for election in Major League Soccer’s Re-Entry Draft.
Miglioranzi, 34, is one of two remaining Union originals selected in the Expansion Draft in November 2009, along with Sebastien Le Toux. He spent much of his first season as a center midfield starter but struggled at times this year in irregular playing time, appearing in 17 games and starting 11, as newly acquired Brian Carroll replaced him as the first choice holding midfielder.
Harrison, 27, never appeared in a game for the Union. He signed with the club in September after playing all season with the Harrisburg City Islanders in USL-Pro.
How the Re-Entry Draft works
The Re-Entry Draft is the MLS version of free agency, in which out-of-contract players can be selected by other teams via a waiver draft format. It was introduced last year as part of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Despite the move, the Union can still negotiate a new contract with Miglioranzi and Harrison or sign and trade them with the player’s consent until 5 p.m. on Friday, under the Re-Entry Draft rules. Once that window closes, however, the sides can’t talk again until after the Re-Entry Draft’s first stage.
The Re-Entry Draft’s first stage occurs the following Monday, Dec. 5, with teams selecting players in a waiver draft via conference call. The Union have the 12th pick. Once a team passes on a pick, they’re out of the draft, and the draft runs until all teams have passed.
After that first stage, another negotiations and trade window opens for clubs and players before a second draft is held on Dec. 12.
If a player is drafted, his new team must still negotiate a new contract with him, and they continue to hold his rights in MLS even if a deal can’t be struck with the player. Players who aren’t selected in the draft or who don’t sign new contracts with their current club are available on a first-come, first-sign basis.
Notable names available in draft
There are a few notable players available in the Re-Entry Draft, but few are big names, save perhaps the one everyone already knew would be there.
Philadelphia native Bobby Convey is on the list, having said weeks ago he would not return to San Jose. Convey can play left midfield and left back, though his stated desire to not play left back after a great season in midfield in 2010 factored in his decision to leave San Jose. He also clashed with Union manager Peter Nowak when the two were at D.C. United and told KYW’s Philly Soccer show last year that he did not expect to play for the Union while Nowak was involved with the team.
Seattle forward Nate Jaqua is on the list too. Jaqua scored nine goals in 2009 but hasn’t scored a league goal in two years.
D.C. United continued its overhaul under coach Ben Olsen, letting nine players go, including longtime regulars Clyde Simms, a holding midfielder, and winger Santino Quaranta. Simms started 29 games this year and has been a regular starter for the club for since 2008, while Quaranta has been marginalized by the emergence of young Honduran star Andy Najar. He had one goal and four assists this year in 21 games, with 10 starts, and a salary over $100,000.
Amazingly, Houston left center back Bobby Boswell unprotected. He’s otherwise known as a guy who was protected from the expansion draft, leaving Brian Ching exposed to Montreal. Everyone knows how well that worked out. Houston also let go of fullback Hunter Freeman, who started 22 games this year after leaving Norway’s top league.
Finally, there’s left back Danleigh Borman, 25, who played out his contract for Toronto after starting 19 games this year. Borman struggled at times for Toronto this year, and some say he’s a better midfielder than defender.