By Liviu Bird
It’s time once again to learn how much your favorite — and least favorite — players in Major League Soccer make. Besides making your own measly salary feel inadequate, the numbers released by the MLS Players Union always give those around the league fodder for conversation.
Before we dive into too much analysis, here are a couple of disclaimers to guide how this should be perceived: This analysis is based on base salary information only, not total guaranteed money, and the information isn’t 100 percent up-to-date because players are constantly signing new contracts and renewing their deals.
Unlike last time the numbers were released, though, this list of players is complete because the MLS roster freeze date has passed.
The usual note on Designated Players also applies: although some players are stated as making more or less than the $350,000 cutoff, the number alone doesn’t qualify or disqualify them as Designated Players. Because of the complicated nature of allocation money rules, there are ways to pay players a hefty sum and still avoid giving them the Designated Player tag.
Basic Salary Information
The average base salary is $156,124.18. Not including Designated Players, that number comes down to $96,706.64.
The league minimum continues to be $33,750, and that’s the salary that 43 players make — or nearly 8 percent of the league.
As far as positions are concerned, forwards continue to be the most sought-after players. However, one of the highest paid at that position — Portland Timbers Kris Boyd — has had a sub-par season.
It is perhaps too early to tell whether his compatriot Kenny Miller will give better value for Vancouver.
However, they have had headline years compared to the New York Red Bulls’ Rafael Marquez, who is still the highest-paid defender in the league.
Salary vs. League Position
At the end of the season, teams will be analyzing their assets, their performances and whether they are getting their value. For MLS clubs, their players are their assets and their end position — both in the table and playoffs — are their performances.
Of course, some clubs are bound to be more pleased than others.
The top three clubs in the current Supporters Shield race will be among the happiest. The San Jose Earthquakes ($2,878,166.29), Sporting Kansas City ($2,893,657) and the Chicago Fire ($3,600,214) are at the top of the heap in points but near the bottom in money spent.
The New York Red Bulls are spending their money (all $15,814,369.46 of it) wisely, it seems, as they are near the top also. Real Salt Lake ($3,206,785.04) is next, where its “team is the star” motto and the amount of money each player demands are in agreement.
At the other end of the spectrum is Toronto FC. The third-highest salary in the league ($5,829,467) did not translate into points for the club this season.
Conclusions and Further Analysis
Coming up in the next few days, you’ll see a more detailed breakdown of each Cascadia team here, but with all of the numbers being released and this short analysis, drawing conclusions could take us in any direction.
So what do you take away from it all? What stands out to you? Which club is the best at spending money? How do you think your team is doing?