Have you ever read an article about an MLS player transaction and read the line, “per league and team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed?” Well today is one of those days where we peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of one of those “terms” and see how much players make.
Obviously players like Michael Bradley, Kaka, Steven Gerrard and Sebastian Giovinco make up the highest paid players end of the scale. In total, 21 MLS players make over a million dollars in 2015.
Here is the top ten:
1) Kaka – Orlando City SC – $7,167,500
2) Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC – $7,115,555
3) Michael Bradley – Toronto FC – $6,500,000
4) Steven Gerrard – LA Galaxy – $6,332,504
5) Frank Lampard – New York City FC – $6,000,000
6) David Villa – New York City FC – $5,610,000
7) Jozy Altidore – Toronto FC – $4,750,000
8) Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders FC – $4,605,941
9) Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy – $4,500,000
10) Giovani dos Santos – LA Galaxy – $4,100,008
It definitely shows the league has been splashing the cash on certain talent. In terms of team spending, Toronto FC spends the most at just under $23 million. On the other end of the scale, according to Jonathan Tannenwald, Kaka makes more money in a season than 15 other teams.
Having said that, there are many other players who are making less than $100k a year. While the senior minimum salary has gone up from $48,500 to $60,000 in 2015 and eventually to $70,250 in 2019, that is a huge jump from $60,000 to even one of the 21 who makes more than 16 times that much at over a million dollars. That is a pretty big jump between teammates.
It’s important to create a good balance between bringing in the top talent and cultivating and bringing up the best young talent. Many people believe that one or the other is best in the growth of MLS but in all actuality, both is needed to grow the League. For every Kaka, there are a dozen Ryan Hollingshead’s. Both are important to the growth of MLS in their own way. Whether or not that should result in a closer pay structure league wide, that debate is more suitable during the next CBA negotiations in 2019.