Broken Clouds 35° Good Afternoon
Broken Clouds 35° Good Afternoon

MLS, players union reach agreement

NYCFC defender Jason Hernandez, right, played last season

NYCFC defender Jason Hernandez, right, played last season with the San Jose Earthquakes. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

Major League Soccer and its players union reached an agreement in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement, both parties announced Wednesday night.

The new deal, which will cover five seasons, avoids a work stoppage before the 2015 season, which starts on Friday.

"This agreement will provide a platform for our players, ownership and management to work together to help build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world," said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement.

New York City FC now is clear to begin its inaugural MLS season when it visits fellow expansion club Orlando City SC on Sunday. However, up until last night, there was a chance that games wouldn't be played this weekend.

NYCFC defender Jason Hernandez told amNewYork in a phone interview earlier Wednesday before the deal was struck that, although the start of the season wasn't solidified, the team wasn't letting the labor questions be a distraction.

"As far as players go and speaking for our team, our job is clear and that's to prepare ourselves in every way possible for our first match against Orlando," said Hernandez, who is entering his 11th MLS season. "And that's been the No. 1 focus."

Although the league did not release details of the new CBA, reports last night indicated free agency would be granted on a limited basis relating to age and service with the league. MLS did not allow players to enter free agency during the league's first 19 seasons.

The minimum league salary would be raised to $60,000, according to reports, a significant increase from the previous minimum of $36,500.

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