MLS Players Association

The MLS Players Association, also referred to as the MLSPA, is the union of professional Major League Soccer players. The MLS Players Association serves as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all current players in MLS.

MottoVoice of the Players
Founded17 April 2003 (2003-04-17)
AffiliationFIFPro (full member)
Key peopleBob Foose, Executive Director
Office location7500 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland
CountryUnited States


The MLS Players Association (formerly MLS Players Union)[1] was formed in April 2003 after the conclusion of Fraser v. Major League Soccer. The founding members of the MLSPA Executive Board included Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Chris Klein, Alexi Lalas, and Ben Olsen. Prior to the CBA, players received no form of retirement benefits, and many players lacked basic health insurance.

2004 CBA

After negotiating with MLS in 2003 and 2004, on December 1, 2004, the Players Association and MLS signed the first-ever collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covering MLS players. Among other things, the CBA increased minimum salaries, established a 401(k) plan with guaranteed contributions from MLS, and guaranteed[2] that all players and their families will be provided with 100% fully paid health insurance benefits. In addition, the CBA provides for an independent arbitrator to hear disputes between MLS and the players. MLS and the Players Association also negotiated a substance abuse policy covering all players in the league, as well as a Group License Agreement.

2010 Negotiations

The collective bargaining agreement ran through the 2009 season, and the labor agreement expired on January 31, 2010. Progress had been reported in negotiations with the Players Association, with the major issues reportedly player transfer and guaranteed contracts. The Players Association had accused MLS of failing to abide by international regulations set down by governing body FIFA, but the league denied the charge. FIFA said they would not intervene in a labor dispute.[3] The MLSPA advised players to report to camp as planned. Reports had been conflicting about the actual possibility of a work stoppage. Both sides agreed to extend talks to February 12, and then extended then again to February 25, 2010. On March 20, 2010, MLS and MLSPA signed a new 5-year agreement.

In 2010, Major League Soccer players threatened to go on strike.[4][5] The union had voted in favor of a strike if a new deal was not reached before the beginning of the season.[6]

MLS and the MLSPA announced on March 23, 2010, that they had reached agreement in principle on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement covering five seasons, commencing with the 2010 season and continuing through January 31, 2015.[7]


  1. "MLS Players Association Announces Rebrand".
  2. "The History of the MLSPA | MLS Players Association". MLS Players Association. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  3. "FIFA won't intervene in MLS labor dispute". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  4. "Is an MLS lockout possible?". Fox Sports. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  5. "Can MLS players 'afford' to strike?". Fox Sports. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  6. Booth, Tim (March 12, 2010). "MLS players say they're unified in labor talks". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  7. "CBA agreement reached by MLS and MLSPU". The Crew. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
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