Major League Soccer

Dempsey tops list of latest MLS salary figures

DempseySeattle (Getty)


Clint Dempsey hasn’t even stepped onto the field for the Seattle Sounders yet, but he’s already at the top of league when it comes to his salary, which is just above $5 million for the 2013 season, according to the Major League Soccer Player’s Union, which released player salaries for the 2013 season through Aug. 1 on Friday.

Other top earners in Major League Soccer include Robbie Keane, who will earn more than $4 million this year, Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Obefami Martins, and Marco Di Vaio.

Surprisingly, former USNMT captain Carlos Bocanegra isn’t part of the top-tier paid players. The defender will earn a mere $260,000 for this season, which is less than Chicago’s Bakay Soumare, Columbus’ Chad Marshall, Dallas’ George John and Colorado’s Marvell Wynne.

Here are the highest earners in MLS:


1. Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders, $ 5,038,566.50
2. Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls $ 4,350,000.00
3. Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy, $4,333,333.33
4. Tim Cahill, New York Red Bulls, $3,625,000.00
5. Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy, $2,500,000.00
6. Marco Di Vaio, Montreal Impact, $1,937,508.00
7. Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders, $1,725,000.00
8. Danny Koevermans, Toronto FC, $1,663,323.33
9. Kenny Miller, Vancouver Whitecaps $1,124,992.00
10. David Ferreira, FC Dallas, $730,000.00

(Fredy Montero would be among the top ten based on his salary, but he is currently on loan with Sporting Lisbon, which is paying his salary.)


Dwayne DeRosario, DC United, $645,333.33
Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew, $604,000.00
Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes,$ 600,000.00
Sherjill MacDonald, Chicacog Fire, $527,125.00
Mike Magee, Chicago Fire, $191,666.67
Edson Buddle, Colorado Rapids, $ 275,000.00
Jose Kleberson, Philadelphia Union, $495,000.00
Sebastian Le Toux, Philadelphia Union, $212,812.50
Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers, $400,000.00
Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake, $453,333.33
Kenny Cooper, FC Dallas, $342,500.00
Eric Hassli, FC Dallas, $262,276.00
Blais Perez, FC Dallas, $324,250.00
Dejan Jakovic, DC United, $303,341.33
Chris Pontius, DC United, $361,000.00
Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy, $282,000.00
Sean Franklin, LA Galaxy, $248,333.33
Ricardo Clark, Houston Dynamo, $ 307,750.00
Brad Davis, houston Dynamo, $372,062.50
Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City, $312,187.50
Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City, $383,250.00
Jay DeMerit, Vancouver Whitecaps, $ 375,000.00
Allessandro Nesta, Montreal Impact, $305,000.00
Clarence Goodson, San Jose Earthquakes, $342,000.00
Saer Sene, New England Revolution, $211,537.54
Juan Toja, New England Revolution, $295,000.00
Mauro Rosales, Seattle Sounder, $225,000.00

What do you think of the latest figures? Which salary do you consider the most surprising? Who do you seeing the best bargains in the league? The worst?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Detroit!

    This is off topic, but the new ads popping up over your right sidebar are really obnoxious: they are covering your content and making headlines unreadable.
    I’m all for you monetizing the site, but this isn’t working.


    • Ives Galarcep

      I know the new ad unit has become an issue for some. It’s probably one we’ll dispose of soon. I don’t personally have issues with the unit. It plays in the lower right corner and can be minimized pretty easily. It seems as though some folks view the website in small screens/windows, which puts the ad unit in a less ideal spot. It’s something we are working on.

      On a different note, we have addressed issues with the comment moderation filter and are hoping it resolves some of the more common issues we’ve had.


      • futbolisimo

        Yeah totally annoying. $ isn’t everything homey. Keep a good soccer blog. Really. You’ll loose the most important visitors.


      • sammysounder

        Ives is a reporter and deserves to be paid. Would you prefer subscription fees? People who expect something for nothing piss me off.


      • McQ


        Just think of it as Ives experimenting with a new formation that just didn’t work. I’m sure he will work it out.😉


      • malkin

        He does and can get paid, and I do my part and click on links all the time because I love the site. But getting obnoxious about the ad formatting can be over the top. It seems Ives recognizes there is an issue and is going to fix it. He wouldn’t have recognized the issue without the complaining. Really not the end of the world.

        Also not the end of the world to play a little grammar police, call out the writers, etc. All it does is make the site strive to be better (whether it’s better content and writing or simply better formatting and user-friendliness).


      • Ives Galarcep

        Actually, while I’m all for readers having a voice and complaining about issues with the navigation of the site, what I will not stand for is abusing of our staff. If you can’t help yourself and insist on playing “grammar police” or “calling out writers” you will stand a good chance of being banned from commenting on the site. That much I can promise you or anybody.


      • J Bart

        I am a non sports journalist and I think it’s appropriate for fans to point out errors to writers. It is not abuse per se. Preferably writers can be emailed directly to alert them to their errors. What I would agree with IG on is that there is no need to abuse writers. Uncalled for.


  • Darwin

    Man, for a team that is struggling at the moment, my FC Dallas team sure is forking it out for goals.


  • soccerhorn

    This is always the most fun list of the year. Let’s see: Sherjil McDonald makes twice as much as Omar Gonzalez! Joel Kleberson makes twice as much as Mike Magee!! Oh so much fun.


  • Gary Page

    Well, Kleberson is certainly overpaid. They don’t show Eddie Johnson, but we all know he is underpaid. And I’m surprised that Obafemi Martins isn’t paid more, given his pedigree.


    • Jeremy

      I think EJ’s salary is just over 150k if I remember right. He might not be with the Sounders next season if he wants to get paid…


    • 20

      100k exactly as of 2012, don’t know if he’s making a little more this year. He’ll probably have his contract restructured at the end of the season.


  • gino

    I am happy to see salaries creeping up with a decent number of players making a few hundred grand. Its still not on par with the other US pro sports. But you can live like a king in Kansas City on $300,000.


    • Drew_OC

      which brings me to a topic I’ve discussed with friends before:
      Most major corporations have a cost of living scale they use for locations around the country. If you work at the KC branch you make 75k, but if you transfer to NY or LA you get 95-100k. Considering the fact that many low and midlevel MLS players are in that payrange, wouldn’t it at some point make sense to give NY, LA, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver, etc players a cost of living stipend that doesn’t count against the cap? I mean even if I’m making 100k in Columbus, a trade to LA kills my quality of life.


      • Gordo Stretch

        I don’t think the big market teams need any help attracting talent.


      • JRP

        Right. What we need is poor LA and NY to get more money to string their teams together. That would solve everything. You have any more good ideas?


    • malkin

      Can’t live like a king in KC forever when your $300k only lasts 5, maybe 10, years.


  • Jake

    It’d be interesting to compare this list to last year and then 5 or 6 years ago (pre-Beckham). Not sure how reliable all the numbers are with the byzantine ways that MLS salaries work but it might be a nice way to see the progression of the league.


  • Soundersfan84

    I believe Dempsey’s contract is heavily backloaded. So he’ll make more over the next couple seasons.


    • jonk

      Dude was worth the money the first year when he was healthy: 8 goals in 10 games in 2011 and then 9 in 16 in 2012 before the ACL.


  • Chelsea blue

    As a FC Dallas season ticket holder, its hard to say this, but David Ferreira is not the player he use to be, and its obvious when you watch the games. He’s not worth a top 10 salary, and Eric Hassli hasn’t been remotely close to productive. I give Kenny Cooper a slight pass because Schellas has played him out of position all season


  • The Other Jeff

    Wow, Shalrie Joseph really took a hit to allow the Dempsey thing to happen: $60k base, $105.5 guaranteed comp.


    • divers suck

      Shalrie is lucky he gets that…..He’s actually lucky to be on the MLS payroll!


  • Steve-o

    Hey Ives, where is the analysis? Also I second the motion that you should do a year-over-year analysis for like a decade and pre beckham – just an idea


    • Ives Galarcep

      Look for a breakdown next week. Having that info drop late Friday afternoon isn’t exactly good timing for getting a timely breakdown out.


  • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache

    Mike Magee has to be the best impact/salary ratio in MLS right? Anybody else compete? How about over the last 5 years or so? You could make it more concrete if you looked at goals or assists per dollar salary, but it’s fun to take defense into consideration as well.


  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Is Di Vaio a DP? Why is he getting so much more money than Nesta, who’s better at his position than Di Vaio at his?


  • King George Arsenal FC

    What happened to Benny Feilhaber’s career? Former USMNT regular to can’t even get a game? #AskTheSBIShow


  • Bean

    I will be surprised if Macdonald is still around next season. You can tell he has talent, but makes little impact on the scoreboard. He is robbing Chicago.


  • 20

    Saer Sene, New England Revolution, $211,537.54. He really needed that extra $37.54?

    I was really interested to see what Graham Zusi’s deal was. I wonder whether he’ll stay in the league or try his luck in Europe now that he’s on a bigger contract…


  • Ben

    I second the comment about the new pop-in ads. When I resize the text on my laptop, they stay the same size, and so cut off significant chunks of text — then keep blocking the top right area as I scroll down. The stationary ads are fine


  • ElMetrofan

    As 90% of RB fans, I miss Kenny Cooper scoring goals. If only he put the PK after encroachment you still ‘might’ have been in NY. LeToux is someone I wish we never would have gone after. Even if Richards was leaving, he was a better option than someone just to be a sub and mercenary to only do the same amount of time. At least we had the guess who Cooper-or-LeToux scenarios.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    I have no idea how Dempsey id worth more than Donovan. Not in a million years.


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