Preseason may have started for Columbus Crew SC but the offseason moves are not over. The Crew announced on Thursday morning that the club has sent one international roster spot to the Montreal Impact in exchange for $175,000 in General Allocation Money.
International roster spots are what allow U.S.-based Major League Soccer teams to acquire non-American players. These do not count permanent resident (Green Card holders) or the holder of certain other special status (a player who has been granted refugee or asylum status for example) or a player who qualifies under the Homegrown International Rule.
Each club has eight international roster spots but these can be traded in full season increments, so some clubs may have more than eight while other clubs may have fewer than eight. There is no limit on the number of international roster spots on each club’s roster.
In 2018, each MLS club received an initial $200,000 in General Allocation Money. That GAM can be used to sign players that did not play in MLS the previous season to the league, to re-sign an existing MLS player, to offset acquisition costs (a loan and/or transfer fees), to “buy-down” a player’s salary budget charge as part of managing a club’s roster — including buying a salary budget charge below the league maximum of $504,375 — to extend a player’s contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year or to reduce the salary budget charge of a Designated Player to a limit of $150,000.
The Crew are currently in preseason camp in Chula Vista, California. The Black & Gold arrived on Friday, Jan. 25 and faced Japanese side Vissel Kobe in a 70-minute scrimmage on Monday that ended in 0-0 draw. Columbus will remain in California until Feb. 6 when the club is scheduled to return to Central Ohio and train until Feb. 12. The Crew will then travel to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup where the Black & Gold will face the Chicago Fire, the Charleston Battery and new MLS side FC Cincinnati.