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MLS, players agree to 5-year labor deal

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP) -- Major League Soccer and its players' union agreed in principle to a five-year labor contract, establishing free agency for the first time and averting a possible strike ahead of Friday's season opener.

The deal, the culmination of talks that began last weekend in Washington, D.C., was announced Wednesday night and would replace the contract that expired Jan. 31.

Under the agreement, players 28 and older could become free agents if they have eight seasons of MLS service and their contracts have expired, a person familiar with the details said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been announced.

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