With the new MLS Players Union salary numbers released on Wednesday, it’s time to take another look at the amount of money Major League Soccer players will bank in 2013. This latest update was nothing drastic, but a few tidbits are worth noting.
First, the usual disclaimers:
• Not every player is listed in the document for various reasons, and players away on loan are still listed.
• The information can never be 100 percent accurate or up to date because players constantly sign new contracts — after the salary numbers come out, some players are surely on the phone to their agents very quickly.
• Also, the numbers don’t include bonuses, sponsorship deals or any other miscellaneous contract line items. For example, when a portion of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s profits were making their way into David Beckham’s bank account, those were not declared in his MLSPU-released salary.
• When it comes to Designated Players, the MLS roster rules are a bit murky and contrived. For example, some guys in the official dossier make more than the league maximum $368,750 but are not Designated Players, and the reverse applies as well. In some cases, allocation money has been used to buy down the contract, but transfer fees and other acquisition costs can bring the total cost up.
The top five players at each position in terms of salary have not changed from August, with one exception. Chicago Fire midfielder Arévalo Ríos, who signed a Designated Player contract with the club on Aug. 14, slots in under Tim Cahill at the top of the highest paid midfielders’ list. Ríos’ base and guaranteed salaries for 2013 come out to $768,000.
Also, just after the Aug. 1 numbers were released, MLSSoccer.com reported that Dwayne De Rosario counts as a DP for D.C. United this year. It’s his first DP deal, although his $600,000 base/$645,333.33 guaranteed salary has not increased. That makes Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi the league’s highest paid non-DP now, as he rakes in $350,000 base/$383,250 guaranteed.
The Colorado Rapids’ new DP, Panamanian forward Gabriel Torres, is making $264,000 base/$276,500 guaranteed this year. His signing came just after Aug. 1, so his salary was not included on the previous numbers. Torres is the first DP in Rapids club history.
Los Angeles Galaxy center back Omar González’s new DP deal isn’t enough to get him into the top five defenders in the league, although no increase in his salary has been noted on the official document. He still makes a $205,000 base/$282,000 guaranteed salary.
Overall, there has been little change in the MLS salary landscape, in terms of the average and median salaries, although both have decreased slightly.
Numbers are still lower than when David Beckham was in the league, but the average base salary is also 42 percent higher than in Beckham’s first season.