USA Tier 1

Major League Soccer 2021

League Guide & Facts

  • The top tier of USA football

  • 27 teams

  • 13 in Eastern Conference

  • 14 in Western Conference

  • Each team plays 34 games in regular season (teams from their own conference twice and teams from the other at least once)

  • Team with best regular season record is awarded the Supporters Shield

Playoffs (MLS Cup)

  • Top 7 teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. The 2 conference winners qualify directly for the semi finals


  • No relegation (closed shop)

League Guides

  • MLS has a pretty complicated set of league, squad registration and player acquisition rules click on the below link for a comprehensive video guide to these rules from Uncle Sam FM who explains it better than I ever could

  • Here is also a comprehensive run down of the rules from DictateTheGame website. The article itself is LLaMa friendly however the website itself is heavy on tactics spoilers and player guides so caution is recommended

Summary of contract and registration rules

Taken from the introductory email when taking over an MLS club

I've taken the time to explain some of the MLS' contract rules so as to ease your introduction into the job.

You may sign a maximum of three Designated Players.

These players are typically of a higher stature and greater quality than the rest of the squad, and as such their contribution towards the salary cap will be equal to the maximum Senior Salary of E9,750 p/w, regardless of his total wage. If the player is signed during the summer transfer window, clubs get a 50% discount on their salary cap impact.

However, a Designated Player 20 years old or younger (referred to as a Young Designated Player) only counts as E2,200 p/w against the club's salary budget, whereas a Young

Designated Player 21-23 years old counts as E3,OOO p/w against the club's salary budget. The budget charge for the midseason signing of a Young DP is E2,200 p/w and this

amount cannot be lowered with General Allocation money, however it can be lowered using Targeted Allocation money instead. Clubs will not have to buy the third DP roster slot to

accommodate a Young Designated Player.

There are two main types of squad registration slots in the MLS: Senior and Off-Budget. Players registered on a Senior slot will always count towards the salary cap, whilst

Off-Budget players are given an exemption.

Players on Designated and Senior contracts may only be registered by using a Senior slot.

Players on Senior contracts can have their salary cap impact bought down using General Allocation Money.

Players earning the league minimum salary of El,300 p/w are on Senior Minimum Salary contracts and may be registered using either a Senior or Off-Budget slot.

Players signed from an MLS club's academy are categorized as Homegrown; they retain this status until they permanently move to a non-MLS club. These players may be registered

using either a Senior or Off-Budget slot. For Senior Homegrown players registered as Off-Budget, the combined difference between their salary cap impact and their minimum

salary cap impact is exempt from the salary cap up to a maximum of El,900 p/w.

Generation Adidas contracts pay above the Senior Minimum Salary value and are given to the highest-rated prospects coming through the draft system. They are always exempt

from the salary cap and can only be registered using an Off-Budget slot.

Reserve contract players are also always exempt from the salary cap and can occupy only Off-Budget slots. Reserve contracts can only be given to players under the age of 25 and

come with a maximum length of two years.

Club Locations

Suggested* Additional Nations To Load

Tour The Americas

*As always this is only a suggestion, the leagues listed are in order of importance, feel free to run as many or as little leagues as you think your system can handle. The setup above gives a nice regional feel.

It is advisable however to run as many top tier leagues of major nations as you can to keep the continental club competitions competitive

Media Prediction, Board Expectations and Title Odds

Western Conference

*Your odds and board expectations may vary slightly from save to save

Eastern Conference

*Your odds and board expectations may vary slightly from save to save

Football Manager 2021 - Major League Soccer 2021

Club Culture

Western Conference

Eastern Conference

Football Manager 2021 - Major League Soccer 2020


Atlanta United

Austin FC





D.C. United

FC Dallas


Inter Miami

LA Galaxy


Minnesota United



New England

NY Red Bulls


Orlando City



Real Salt Lake

San Jose


Sporting KC

Toronto FC