Sunday saw Minnesota United receive some significant news as it prepares to enter Major League Soccer in 2017.
The club learned that it will have the second pick in the MLS "expansion draft" and first pick in the MLS "Superdraft."
If you're wondering what does this mean? So did we, so here's what you need to know:
The Expansion Draft
The draft is designed to fill out the rosters of teams joining the MLS, giving teams the chance to select players from other MLS teams to beef up their squads to a maximum of 28.
Minnesota United, however, are already a successful North American Soccer League (NASL) team with an established roster, unlike Atlanta United, which was established in 2014 and only has a handful of players on its books, who according to SB Nation are currently loaned out.
Under the draft, each team gets five draft picks. They will get to select players from the 20 existing MLS teams.
These MLS teams will be allowed to select 11 players (so, their best ones) who will be protected from selection, so both teams will be picking from the "best of the rest," MLS.com notes.
This draft will be held on Dec. 13 with Atlanta selecting first, having won a coin toss to determine the first pick.
The MLS Superdraft
This draft is more like the drafts you typically see in other major league sports, with each team getting to pick players who have graduated from the NCAA college system.
Minnesota United gets first pick in the Superdraft by virtue of being second in the expansion draft, with Atlanta picking second. After that the other MLS teams will get to pick in an order based on their record during the 2016 season.
Loons manager Manny Lagos said this is the way he would have chosen it even if they won the toss, telling the Star Tribune: "We wanted to win the coin flip and decide our direction, but if we did win, I would say that we would have gone the same direction. It’s a great asset to the club."
The newspaper suggests the favorite for No. 1 pick is Jeremy Ebobisse, a 19-year-old Duke University player who is currently playing for Charleston Battery in the United Soccer League as he awaits his entry into the draft.
The Pioneer Press also lists Bloomington native Jackson Yueill, a winger/forward playing for UCLA, as a possible first-round pick.
The MLS Superdraft will be held from Jan. 11-15 in Los Angeles.
To make things even more complicated, Minnesota United will also have the opportunity to sign or buy players on the "Allocation Ranking List," which is a list of U.S. national team players signed with MLS, elite U.S. national youth players, or players who has been transferred to a foreign club for a fee of more than $500,000.
Teams can then use their allocation money, which can be applied outside of its salary cap, to sign these players. This year each team receives $150,000 in allocation money from a pool split between clubs (Minnesota and Atlanta will get more though as they're expansion teams), according to MLS rules.
There's no guarantee a team will be successful in signing a player if, for example, a foreign club doesn't want to sell. But, it effectively gives teams at the top of the draft "first dibs" on these players.
Atlanta chose to have the first choice of these players, with Minnesota United second.
Probably the biggest name on the list right now is Christian Pulisic, the 18-year-old American wonderkid who plays in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, and attracted interest in the summer from EPL club Liverpool.
The USL/NASL list
Minnesota United has priority ranking when signing players from the NASL and other professional league the USL, this means they have first pick of any player that's not on another MLS club's "discovery list."
Basically this means the United have the first right of refusal at lower-division talent wanting to join MLS, and given NASL is of a quality not too far removed from the MLS anyhow, there could be some decent talent just waiting to get picked up.
You can watch the draft below: