The San Jose Earthquakes have paved the way for Swiss signing Francois Affolter to play by acquiring a 2017 International Roster Slot from Atlanta United FC in exchange for $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money in 2018.
The twenty-six-year-old defender joined from Swiss side FC Luzern last month but was previously ineligible to join the Quakes’ roster due to the Major League Soccer roster limit of eight international players. Affolter should be eligible to play in tomorrow’s US Open Cup semifinal battle against Sporting Kansas City (social media posts revealed that he traveled with the team to Kansas), though the Quakes can only name five international players to their eighteen-man game-day roster.
A Quakes spokesperson added that Affolter was serving a suspension during the club’s 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew last weekend (from a red card carried over from his time with Luzern), which suggests that the trade was filed before Saturday’s game. This timeline of events would also explain coach Chris Leitch’s post-match comments that suggested Affolter would be available against SKC.
Affolter will be a welcome addition to San Jose’s back-line and brings international experience from five caps with the Swiss national team. He has also played in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen.
The move also hints at further offseason change in San Jose as the roster slot only lasts until the end of the season, which means the Quakes will have to release an international player (or even two given Harold Cummings’ return from the season-ending injury list) or be forced to perform more evasive roster acrobatics.