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Designated Player Rule facts for kids

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The Designated Player Rule, nicknamed the Beckham Rule, allows Major League Soccer franchises to sign up to three players that would be considered outside their salary cap (either by offering the player higher wages or by paying a transfer fee for the player). The rule was adopted ahead of the 2007 MLS season, and it enables teams to compete for star players in the international soccer market. The rule is one of two ways which MLS teams may exceed their salary cap, the other being allocation money. As of December 2019, there have been 209 Designated Players in league history.

The rule is named after David Beckham. Beckham was the first player signed under this rule, signing a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy with a guaranteed annual salary of $6.5 million.

Club DP History

As of August 12, 2020

Notes

  • The below list indicates players who have had their contract assigned as a Designated Player (DP) contract during their time in MLS. Players may have not always have had a DP contract, or have later had their contract negotiated below a DP level. Similarly, some players have been in MLS whose salary has been at a DP level, but the club has opted to bring their salary below the DP threshold using General Allocation Money or Targeted Allocation Money. Their listed "Years as DP" indicates what seasons they were active as a DP for that club only. Players in bold are currently signed to a DP contract by their club.
  • Former MLS sides Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny were dissolved before the introduction of the Designated Player Rule.

Atlanta United FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Paraguay Héctor Villalba Argentina San Lorenzo 2017
Paraguay Miguel Almirón Argentina Lanús 2017–2018
Venezuela Josef Martínez Italy Torino 2017–
Argentina Ezequiel Barco Argentina Independiente 2018–
Argentina Pity Martínez Argentina River Plate 2019–2020
Argentina Marcelino Moreno Argentina Lanús 2020–

Austin FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Paraguay Cecilio Domínguez Argentina Independiente 2021–

Chicago Fire

Player Previous club Years as DP
Mexico Cuauhtémoc Blanco Mexico América 2007–2009
Sweden Freddie Ljungberg United States Seattle Sounders FC 2010
Mexico Nery Castillo Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk 2010
Uruguay Álvaro Fernández United States Seattle Sounders FC 2012–2013
Netherlands Sherjill MacDonald Belgium Germinal Beerschot 2012–2013
Uruguay Federico Puppo Uruguay Danubio 2012–2014
Uruguay Egidio Arévalo Ríos Mexico Tijuana 2013
Ecuador Juan Luis Anangonó Ecuador El Nacional 2013–2014
Brazil Gilberto Canada Toronto FC 2015–2016
Ghana David Accam Sweden Helsingborg 2015–2017
Scotland Shaun Maloney England Wigan Athletic 2015
Nigeria Kennedy Igboananike Sweden AIK 2015–2016
Hungary Nemanja Nikolić Poland Legia Warsaw 2017–2019
Germany Bastian Schweinsteiger England Manchester United 2017–2019
Serbia Aleksandar Katai Spain Alavés 2019
Slovenia Robert Berić France Saint-Étienne 2020–
Argentina Ignacio Aliseda Argentina Defensa y Justicia 2020–
Paraguay Gastón Giménez Argentina Vélez Sarsfield 2020–

Chivas USA (defunct)

Player Previous club Years as DP
Colombia Juan Pablo Ángel United States LA Galaxy 2011–2012
Ecuador Oswaldo Minda Ecuador Deportivo Quito 2012–2014
Grenada Shalrie Joseph United States New England Revolution 2012
Mexico Erick Torres Mexico Guadalajara 2013–2014
Argentina Mauro Rosales United States Seattle Sounders FC 2014

FC Cincinnati

Player Previous club Years as DP
Nigeria Fanendo Adi United States Portland Timbers 2019
Costa Rica Allan Cruz Costa Rica Herediano 2019–
Japan Yuya Kubo Belgium Gent 2020–
Netherlands Jürgen Locadia England Brighton & Hove Albion 2020–

Colorado Rapids

Player Previous club Years as DP
Panama Gabriel Torres Venezuela Zamora 2013–2015
Argentina Juan Edgardo Ramírez Argentina Argentinos Juniors 2015–2017
Republic of Ireland Kevin Doyle England Wolverhampton Wanderers 2015–2016
Albania Shkëlzen Gashi Switzerland Basel 2016–2018
United States Tim Howard England Everton 2016–2019
Denmark Younes Namli Russia Krasnodar 2020–

Columbus Crew SC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Argentina Guillermo Barros Schelotto Argentina Boca Juniors 2009–2010
Peru Andrés Mendoza Turkey Diyarbakırspor 2010–2011
Argentina Federico Higuaín Argentina Colón 2012–2019
Sierra Leone Kei Kamara England Middlesbrough 2016
Ghana Jonathan Mensah Russia Anzhi Makhachkala 2017
Portugal Pedro Santos Portugal Braga 2017–
Argentina Milton Valenzuela Argentina Newell's Old Boys 2018–2019
United States Gyasi Zardes United States LA Galaxy 2019–
Costa Rica Luis Díaz Costa Rica Herediano 2019
Argentina Lucas Zelarayán Mexico UANL 2020–

FC Dallas

Player Previous club Years as DP
Brazil Denílson Saudi Arabia Al-Nassr 2007
Colombia David Ferreira Brazil Atlético Paranaense 2009–2013
Colombia Fabián Castillo Colombia Deportivo Cali 2011–2015
Canada Julian de Guzman Canada Toronto FC 2012
France Eric Hassli Canada Toronto FC 2013
Argentina Mauro Díaz Argentina River Plate 2013–2016
Colombia Andrés Escobar Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv 2014
Uruguay David Texeira Netherlands Groningen 2014–2015
Ecuador Carlos Gruezo Germany VfB Stuttgart 2016–2018
Ecuador Aníbal Chalá Ecuador El Nacional 2017
Paraguay Cristian Colmán Paraguay Nacional Asunción 2017–2018
Colombia Santiago Mosquera Colombia Millonarios 2018–
Honduras Bryan Acosta Spain Tenerife 2019–
Chile Pablo Aránguiz Chile Unión Española 2019
Argentina Franco Jara Mexico Pachuca 2020–

D.C. United

Player Previous club Years as DP
Brazil Luciano Emílio Honduras Olimpia 2008–2009
Argentina Marcelo Gallardo France Paris Saint-Germain 2008
Montenegro Branko Bošković Austria Rapid Wien 2010–2012
Canada Dwayne De Rosario United States New York Red Bulls 2011–2013
Albania Hamdi Salihi Austria Rapid Wien 2012
Brazil Rafael Brazil Bahia 2013
United States Eddie Johnson United States Seattle Sounders FC 2014–2015
Argentina Fabián Espíndola United States New York Red Bulls 2015–2016
United States Paul Arriola Mexico Tijuana 2017–
England Wayne Rooney England Everton 2018–2019
Argentina Lucas Rodríguez Argentina Estudiantes 2019
Peru Edison Flores Mexico Morelia 2020–

Houston Dynamo

Player Previous club Years as DP
Mexico Luis Ángel Landín Mexico Morelia 2009–2010
Honduras Boniek García Honduras Olimpia 2012–2014
Jamaica Giles Barnes England Doncaster Rovers 2012–2016
Honduras Alexander López Honduras Olimpia 2013–2014
United States DaMarcus Beasley Mexico Puebla 2014–2016
Colombia Mauro Manotas Colombia Uniautónoma 2015–2016
Mexico Erick Torres Mexico Guadalajara 2015–2017
Honduras Alberth Elis Mexico Monterrey 2017–2020
Argentina Tomás Martínez Portugal Braga 2017–

Inter Miami CF

Player Previous club Years as DP
Argentina Matías Pellegrini Argentina Estudiantes 2020–
Mexico Rodolfo Pizarro Mexico Monterrey 2020–
Argentina Gonzalo Higuaín Italy Juventus 2020–

LA Galaxy

Player Previous club Years as DP
England David Beckham Spain Real Madrid 2007–2012
United States Landon Donovan Germany Bayer Leverkusen 2010–2014
Colombia Juan Pablo Ángel United States New York Red Bulls 2011
Republic of Ireland Robbie Keane England Tottenham Hotspur 2011–2016
United States Omar Gonzalez United States University of Maryland 2013–2015
England Steven Gerrard England Liverpool 2015–2016
Mexico Giovani dos Santos Spain Villarreal 2015–2018
Belgium Jelle Van Damme Belgium Standard Liège 2016–2017
France Romain Alessandrini France Marseille 2017–2019
Mexico Jonathan dos Santos Spain Villarreal 2017–
Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović England Manchester United 2019
Argentina Cristian Pavón Argentina Boca Juniors 2020–
Mexico Javier Hernández Spain Sevilla 2020–

Los Angeles FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Mexico Carlos Vela Spain Real Sociedad 2018–
Uruguay Diego Rossi Uruguay Peñarol 2018–
Portugal André Horta Portugal Benfica 2018–2019
Uruguay Brian Rodríguez Uruguay Peñarol 2019–

Minnesota United FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Colombia Darwin Quintero Mexico América 2018–2019
Colombia Ángelo Rodríguez Colombia Deportes Tolima 2018–2019
Slovakia Ján Greguš Denmark Copenhagen 2019–
Uruguay Thomás Chacón Uruguay Danubio 2019–
Argentina Emanuel Reynoso Argentina Boca Juniors 2020–

Montreal Impact

Player Previous club Years as DP
Italy Marco Di Vaio Italy Bologna 2012–2014
Argentina Hernán Bernardello Spain Almería 2013–2014
Argentina Ignacio Piatti Argentina San Lorenzo 2014–2019
Côte d'Ivoire Didier Drogba England Chelsea 2015–2016
Argentina Lucas Ontivero Turkey Galatasaray 2016
Switzerland Blerim Džemaili Italy Bologna 2017
Algeria Saphir Taïder Italy Bologna 2018–
Kenya Victor Wanyama England Tottenham Hotspur 2020–

Nashville SC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Germany Hany Mukhtar Denmark Brøndby IF 2020–
Costa Rica Randall Leal Costa Rica Saprissa 2020–
Venezuela Jhonder Cádiz Portugal Benfica 2020–

New England Revolution

Player Previous club Years as DP
Argentina Milton Caraglio Argentina Rosario Central 2011
Grenada Shalrie Joseph United States New York Freedom 2012
Honduras Jerry Bengtson Honduras Motagua 2012–2014
United States Jermaine Jones Turkey Beşiktaş 2014–2015
Portugal José Gonçalves Switzerland Sion 2016
Côte d'Ivoire Xavier Kouassi Switzerland Sion 2016–2017
Sierra Leone Kei Kamara United States Columbus Crew SC 2016–2017
France Claude Dielna England Sheffield Wednesday 2018
Spain Carles Gil Spain Deportivo La Coruña 2019–
Argentina Gustavo Bou Mexico Tijuana 2019–
Poland Adam Buksa Poland Pogoń Szczecin 2020–

New York City FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Spain David Villa Spain Atlético Madrid 2014–2018
England Frank Lampard England Manchester City 2015–2016
Italy Andrea Pirlo Italy Juventus 2015–2017
Argentina Maximiliano Moralez Mexico León 2017–
Paraguay Jesús Medina Paraguay Libertad 2018–
Romania Alexandru Mitriță Romania Universitatea Craiova 2019–2020

New York Red Bulls

Player Previous club Years as DP
United States Claudio Reyna England Manchester City 2007–2008
Colombia Juan Pablo Ángel England Aston Villa 2007–2010
France Thierry Henry Spain Barcelona 2010–2014
Mexico Rafael Márquez Spain Barcelona 2010–2012
Germany Frank Rost Germany Hamburger SV 2011
Australia Tim Cahill England Everton 2012–2014
England Bradley Wright-Phillips England Charlton Athletic 2015–2016, 2017–2019
Argentina Gonzalo Verón Argentina San Lorenzo 2015–2017
United States Sacha Kljestan Belgium Anderlecht 2016–2017
Israel Omer Damari Germany RB Leipzig 2016
Paraguay Alejandro Romero Gamarra Argentina Huracán 2018–
England Josh Sims England Southampton 2019–2020
England Dru Yearwood England Brentford 2020–

Orlando City SC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Brazil Kaká Italy Milan 2014–2017
Colombia Carlos Rivas Colombia Deportivo Cali 2015–2017
Honduras Bryan Róchez Honduras Real España 2015–2016
Argentina Matías Pérez García United States San Jose Earthquakes 2016–2017
Jamaica Giles Barnes Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2017
Peru Yoshimar Yotún Sweden Malmö FF 2017
United States Dom Dwyer United States Sporting Kansas City 2018–
United States Sacha Kljestan United States New York Red Bulls 2018
Paraguay Josué Colmán Paraguay Cerro Porteño 2018–2019
Portugal Nani Portugal Sporting CP 2019–
Uruguay Mauricio Pereyra Russia Krasnodar 2019–

Philadelphia Union

Player Previous club Years as DP
United States Freddy Adu Portugal Benfica 2011–2012
Brazil Kléberson Brazil Bahia 2013
Argentina Cristian Maidana Chile Rangers de Talca 2014–2015
United States Maurice Edu England Stoke City 2014–2017
Venezuela Fernando Aristeguieta France Nantes 2015
United States Alejandro Bedoya France Nantes 2016–2019
Czech Republic Bořek Dočkal People's Republic of China Henan Jianye 2018
Mexico Marco Fabián Germany Eintracht Frankfurt 2019
Cape Verde Jamiro Monteiro France Metz 2020–

Portland Timbers

Player Previous club Years as DP
Colombia Diego Chará Colombia Deportes Tolima 2011–2013
Scotland Kris Boyd Turkey Eskişehirspor 2012
Argentina Diego Valeri Argentina Lanús 2013–2019
Nigeria Fanendo Adi Denmark Copenhagen 2014–2015, 2016–2018
England Liam Ridgewell England West Bromwich Albion 2014–2016
Argentina Lucas Melano Argentina Lanús 2015–2016, 2019
Argentina Sebastián Blanco Argentina San Lorenzo 2017–
Argentina Brian Fernández Mexico Necaxa 2019
Colombia Yimmi Chará Brazil Atlético Mineiro 2020–
Poland Jarosław Niezgoda Poland Legia Warsaw 2020–

Real Salt Lake

Player Previous club Years as DP
Costa Rica Álvaro Saborío Switzerland Sion 2011–2015
Argentina Javier Morales Spain Vecindario 2011–2015
United States Kyle Beckerman United States Colorado Rapids 2015
Ecuador Joao Plata Canada Toronto FC 2015–2016
Chile Sebastián Jaime Chile Unión Española 2014–2015
Argentina Juan Manuel Martínez Argentina Boca Juniors 2015–2016
Armenia Yura Movsisyan Russia Spartak Moscow 2016–2017
Slovakia Albert Rusnák Netherlands Groningen 2017–
Venezuela Jefferson Savarino Venezuela Zulia 2017–2019
Liberia Sam Johnson Norway Vålerenga 2019–
Venezuela Jeizon Ramírez Venezuela Deportivo Táchira 2020–

San Jose Earthquakes

Player Previous club Years as DP
Brazil Geovanni England Hull City 2010
United States Chris Wondolowski United States Houston Dynamo 2013–2019
Argentina Matías Pérez García Argentina Tigre 2014–2016
Switzerland Innocent Emeghara Azerbaijan Qarabağ 2015–2016
Jamaica Simon Dawkins England Derby County 2016–2017
Georgia (country) Valeri Qazaishvili Netherlands Vitesse 2017–
Sweden Magnus Eriksson Sweden Djurgårdens I.F. 2018
Argentina Cristian Espinoza Spain Villarreal 2020–

Seattle Sounders FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Sweden Freddie Ljungberg England West Ham United 2009–2010
Uruguay Álvaro Fernández Uruguay Nacional 2010–2012
Switzerland Blaise Nkufo Netherlands Twente 2010
Argentina Mauro Rosales Argentina River Plate 2011–2013
Germany Christian Tiffert Germany 1. FC Kaiserslautern 2012–2013
Grenada Shalrie Joseph United States Chivas USA 2013
Nigeria Obafemi Martins Spain Levante 2013–2015
United States Clint Dempsey England Tottenham Hotspur 2013–2018
Cuba Osvaldo Alonso United States Charleston Battery 2014–2018
Paraguay Nelson Valdez Germany Eintracht Frankfurt 2015–2016
Uruguay Nicolás Lodeiro Argentina Boca Juniors 2016–
Peru Raúl Ruidíaz Mexico Morelia 2018–
Spain Víctor Rodríguez Spain Sporting Gijón 2019
Ecuador Xavier Arreaga Ecuador Barcelona SC 2019
Brazil João Paulo Brazil Botafogo 2020–

Sporting Kansas City

Player Previous club Years as DP
Argentina Claudio López Argentina Racing Club 2008
Mexico Omar Bravo Mexico Guadalajara 2011
Brazil Jéferson Brazil Vasco da Gama 2011
Argentina Claudio Bieler Ecuador Liga de Quito 2013–2014
United States Matt Besler United States University of Notre Dame 2014–2016
United States Graham Zusi United States University of Maryland 2014–2017
Honduras Roger Espinoza England Wigan Athletic 2015–2018
Chile Diego Rubio Spain Valladolid 2016
Guinea-Bissau Gerso Fernandes Portugal Belenenses 2017
France Yohan Croizet Belgium KV Mechelen 2018–2019
Chile Felipe Gutiérrez Spain Real Betis 2018–
Scotland Johnny Russell England Derby County 2019–
Mexico Alan Pulido Mexico Guadalajara 2020–

Toronto FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
Canada Julian de Guzman Spain Deportivo La Coruña 2009–2012
Spain Mista Spain Deportivo La Coruña 2010
Netherlands Danny Koevermans Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 2011–2013
Germany Torsten Frings Germany Werder Bremen 2011–2012
France Eric Hassli Canada Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2012
Argentina Matías Laba Argentina Argentinos Juniors 2013
Brazil Gilberto Brazil Internacional 2014
United States Michael Bradley Italy Roma 2014–2019
England Jermain Defoe England Tottenham Hotspur 2014–2015
Italy Sebastian Giovinco Italy Juventus 2015–2018
United States Jozy Altidore England Sunderland 2015–
Spain Alejandro Pozuelo Belgium Genk 2019–
Argentina Pablo Piatti Spain Espanyol 2020–

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Player Previous club Years as DP
France Eric Hassli Switzerland Zürich 2011–2012
The Gambia Mustapha Jarju Belgium R.A.E.C. Mons 2011
Scotland Barry Robson England Middlesbrough 2012
Scotland Kenny Miller Wales Cardiff City 2012–2014
Argentina Matías Laba Canada Toronto FC 2014–2017
Argentina Mauro Rosales United States Chivas USA 2014
Chile Pedro Morales Spain Málaga 2014–2016
Uruguay Octavio Rivero Chile O'Higgins 2015–2016
Colombia Fredy Montero People's Republic of China Tianjin TEDA
Portugal Sporting CP
2017
2019
United States Brek Shea United States Orlando City 2017–2018
Costa Rica Kendall Waston Costa Rica Saprissa 2018
South Korea Hwang In-beom South Korea Daejeon Citizen 2019–2020
Uruguay Joaquín Ardaiz Switzerland Chiasso 2019
Iraq Ali Adnan Italy Udinese 2019–
Canada Lucas Cavallini Mexico Puebla 2020–

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