Getting an exclusive look behind the curtain of the MLS SuperDraft, we go backstage to explore what it's like as players are swapped from one side of the United States to the other.

While the European game has a history of transfer dealings that are underpinned by one club's wealth and appeal against another, the MLS has an altogether different way of working. Unique to American sports, it's not an unfamiliar way of working for those in the know though for the outsider, the one who's more familiar with the madness of transfer deadline day, it's an entirely unfathomable proposition. In short, it's an event where the top dogs from each club get together to fight it out for the signature of players from a list of available names.

OK, there may well be no literal punches thrown, but it's a feisty environment that stands out as a chance for each club to add new faces to their squad for the forthcoming season. Still, there's always room for a little smack talk - see the LAFC scarf, a subtle quip to their rivals, MLS history makers LA Galaxy.

MLS Draft portrait_0001_Photo Jan 19, 12 26 51 PM.jpg
MLS Draft portrait_0000_Photo Jan 19, 12 30 00 PM.jpg

Sitting somewhere between your favourite trade show and a stock exchange for players, names are called and scarfs are draped neatly across the shoulders. Joining the party and giving it bursts of energy, there's also room for the most committed of MLS fans too. For the European outsider it's a weird and wonderful space for football where you've got fluffy mascots on one side of the room and business chiefs on the other. Somehow, it works.

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MLS Draft portrait_0005_Photo Jan 19, 11 25 36 AM.jpg

Flying on the shoulder as deals are made and players settle into their new homes, it's another warm up to a new MLS season and lands right on time, alongside the launch of the official match ball, the new adidas 'Nativo'.

Photography by Trey Madara for SoccerBible