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A closer look at salaries for the newest players in Major League Soccer


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MLS released its latest round of player and team salaries earlier this week. To no one's surprise, David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez were among the best-paid players in the league while the New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy were the two clubs with the highest payrolls.

Still, there were plenty of interesting salaries among some of the newcomers in the league, including that of Tim Cahill.

According to the salaries released by the MLS Players Union, Cahill is the fourth-highest paid player in MLS. Cahill, who arrived in late July from Premiership club Everton, earns a base salary of $3.5 million, putting him just ahead of Galaxy forward Robbie Keane ($3.4 million) but behind Marquez ($4.6 million), Beckham ($4 million) and Henry ($5.6 million).

Another talented newcomer, Columbus Crew striker Federico Higuain, comes at a much cheaper price. Higuain's base salary for this season is $160,000, which is less than what fellow Crew players Will Hesmer, Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven make. That trio makes $170,000, $310,00 and $190,000, respectively.

There were plenty of other bargains amongst the newcomers, too.

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann's base salary is $60,000 this season, while Red Bulls duo Luis Robles and Digao (Kaka's brother) are earning $40,000 and $90,000, respectively. San Jose Earthquakes forward Marcus Tracy is making $44,000 and Oriol Rosell is set to receive $90,000 from Sporting Kansas City this year.

On the other end of the spectrum are guys like Colorado Rapids midfielder Hendry Thomas ($187,800), Houston Dynamo's Ricardo Clark ($260,000), Darren O'Dea ($330,000) of Toronto FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy's Christian Wilhelmsson ($168,000).


What do you think of the latest round of MLS salaries? Find it more absurd that the Red Bulls have three of the top four highest-paid players in the league, or that Marquez alone is making $4.6 million for barely playing? How big of a steal is Higuain at that price?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Those would seem accurate guesses to me too. All are smaller market teams that haven’t gone out for big star DPs but have built from a team first perspective

  2. A Red Bulls salesperson called me the other day to ask if I would be attending a game soon. I told him I would not set foot out at Red Bull Arena as long as Rafa Marquez was on the team. He laughed as he didn’t think I was serious. I told him that I was totally serious. The Red Bulls have kept Marquez on the team because they think he is good for marketing, but I wanted them to know that he has the exact opposite effect on me. Rafa Marquez is arguably the most overpaid person in sports.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. I read somewhere the league minimum was in the low 50s, but I guess even that was high if dudes are making $40.

    Keep in mind, most of us will be in our careers for decades. Pro athletes average a 3-5 year earnings window, and not all can go on to jobs on TV or the front office. I’m all for letting markets dictate pay, but with such short careers it would be nice to have a 100K minimum, if nothing else, to help the guys transition into something else when they are no longer wanted on the pitch.

  4. why did Robles leave 2 Bundesliga for 40 K. I’m sure he was making 3 times that back in Germany. He shouldn’t make any less than 100 K

  5. I thought that was a interesting question. Here are the top eight teams, their points per game, and their total 2012 guaranteed compensation in millions of dollars. Of these, San Jose and Kansas City have the lowest salary totals at $3.2 million. New York’s spending is greater by more than 500%.

    SJ 1.97 3.2
    KC 1.87 3.2
    CHI 1.71 4.0
    NY 1.71 16.7
    RSL 1.68 3.6
    DC 1.65 4.0
    SEA 1.63 4.3
    LA 1.61 11.7

  6. It sure is, 40k will get you a small apartment in Brooklyn no problem. My Gf managed to do just fine on 28k after taxes, sure you wont be able to “live it up”, but you arent starving either.

  7. It is not possible to live as a professional athlete on 40K in NYC. End of story. Fix that or this league won’t go anywhere.

  8. I would not be so proud that a club or league pays a player $40k. I make more than that; no wonder this country will not proud great players when the majority of the players are making peanuts – then again they are average.

  9. Higuan’s base salary is low, but his guaranteed compensation is double that at just over $320,000. So it’s not quite as low as it seems at first glance.


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