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MLS Players Union releases latest player salary list, Dempsey still at the top

Clint Dempsey

Photo by Nick Turchiaro/

It must be good to be Clint Dempsey right now.

The MLS Players Union released the latest list of MLS player salaries on Wednesday morning and Dempsey once again was at the very top. The Seattle Sounders attacker is currently earning slightly above $5 million, which is well ahead more of second-best-paid player Thierry Henry’s $4.35 million contract.

The other three players to round out the top five in MLS are LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane at $4.3 million, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill at $3.6 million and Galaxy forward Landon Donovan at $2.5 million.

Other notable salaries are those of some of the newcomers to the league. LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is making a little less than $82,000, New York Red Bulls fullback David Carney is on $167,000, Chicago Fire midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios is earning $768,000, and New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies’s deal is just north of $59,000.

You can take a look at the full list of player salaries here.

What do you think of these salaries? Do you see Dempsey being topped any time soon? Is Penedo the best bargain in MLS? Who is over/underpaid?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Chivas with the lowest payroll, Revolution with the 2nd lowest, then I believe Columbus with the 3rd.

    Tim Cahill makes more than each team’s total payroll…

    • Thats Donovan’s old deal that was signed almost 4 years ago. In the new one starting Jan 1 Donovan will make over 5 mill per year on a 4 year deal.

      • Where? At his age and with his level of dedication to the Galaxy and MLS, I honestly cannot think of any more likely destination than the Galaxy. He’ll be 32 with three years left on a high-priced contract. Everton is out of the picture now that Moyes is at Man U; and Man U is out of the picture because it’s Man U.

  2. Penedo is a steal. I was shocked then laughed when I read Davies’ salary. Man has he fallen off the cliff and hit every rock and cactus on the way down. A lesson to young players…

    The reason a lot of young, but talented players are on such poor contracts is because they don’t renegotiate. They are letting their contracts run out so they can move to Europe. Otherwise, they’ll get locked into MLS purgatory.

  3. Penedo was playing for Municipal in Guatemala before coming to the Galaxy. Keep in mind that Municipal is probably the largest and perhaps the most well-funded club in Guate (largest fan base, etc.) It’s like being the starting keeper for the Real Madrid of Guate.

    Shows you what wages in the Guatemalan league are like if he bolted to LA for $82K.

    • …considering most people would rather live under an underpass in LA than live in Guatemala it shouldn’t be shocking. Say what you want about MLS, this was definitely the best move for his career going forward.

  4. Seattle: Wow, some guys are clearly getting ripped off. Guys I consider stars who have done and continue to do a LOT more than Dempsey. Next big thing for Seattle?: Dissention. And, who can blame them?

    • You already saw dissension from Eddie Johnson.

      The guy is probably burning up inside. He just keeps scoring goal after goal and Clint Dempsey does nothing but swim in piles of cash while not producing. I’d be pissed–especially if I thought the guy was hot dogging it on vacation.

      • I can only assume you were joking about the not producing part….if not the joke is your whole post.

      • Dempsey is definitely not producing on the field for Seattle. Let me guess, you are going to tell us about jersey sales and stuff like that?

      • …he’s hurt right now and has played in like 4 matches…after not having a proper pre season and joining a team in the middle of a campaign…but it totally makes sense to start posting about how Dempsey isn’t producing and Seattle is getting ripped off. Lol This isn’t exactly the ARod and Yankees situation, THAT’S GETTING RIPPED OFF. How about we wait until he has at least double digit appearances before we start overreacting?

      • Dempsey’s 2nd MLS stint is about to be over… your comeback is probably “he is double-team” and draws defenders away from the play….hahaha

  5. So how long before people start to rip Seattle for signing an aging (well, he’s 30) and unproductive star from a European club? Yes, I know it’s way too early, but it will be interesting to see how he is judged if he is not perceived to be “earning” his $5M/year.

    • Take away the name and replace it with any random European name–people would be flocking to message boards ripping his play to pieces.

      If you’re Dempsey, you’ve got it made. A ravenous fan base with the darkest shade of homer glasses on. He can do no wrong for them. Because admitting Dempsey is doing poor would he also admitting that Seattle screwed up and would be sort of an attack of on themselves being as they’re so invested in the team/fan identity.

      Fandom makes people do wild things. Like politics. Or religion.

      And then there’s the Cleveland Browns fans. Poor folk. Yet, probably the most objective and realistic fans in all of professional sports.

      • Sounders fans don’t need to judge.. were winning. Any team in this league would like our depth right now.

        It’s that simple.

      • It’s awfully early to be writing Dempsey off.

        Seattle’s style of play is built around a lot of passing and moving, and getting players on the same page with each other in such a system can take a while. Especially a guy like Dempsey who is often trying to orchestrate plays that are more advanced than some of his teammates are used to. His no-look passes can unlock a defense, but his teammates need to be anticipating them.

        None of us know how useful he’ll end up being on the field for Seattle, but I doubt it will be until next season when we really see how well he is able to perform for them.

      • I have been a fan of over 30 years, but I am completely unbiased ( well as much as I could be ). They needed better than Montero and no midfield scoring. They got Obi and Dempsey. On paper it looks great. We will see.

        To say Dempsey is not producing is a joke and must be someone who didn’t watch the league. Everyone struggles when first coming to MLS. It is a lot tougher than most give it credit for and way more competitive than many are used to.

      • I watch The League! Love it! Hilarious show. I’m not sure what it has to do with Clint Dempsey, but, I like where your mind is.

        Dempsey isn’t producing….currently. Presumably, he’ll factor more into the finished product when EJ takes his goals and leaves.

    • Cahill’s first season at NY made it seem like he was washed up and he makes $3.6 million. He’s looking a lot better this year. When are people going to realize that most players need more than a couple of games to mesh with a new team, especially when they come in the middle of the season. I could give example after example.

      • I agree. But recall that people were saying all those negative things about Cahill even before he had played half a season. I was just wondering if Dempsey would get the same treatment.

    • It was obvious by the end of last year he was way underpaid. Seattle should have torn his contract up then, but they had a contract through this season and now may have to pay even more to keep him.

      • Seattle holds his option for 2014 too. EJ signed a 3-year deal with MLS when he re-entered via allocation.

        So pick up the option, then sell him to the highest bidder. Or maybe if Seattle finishes high enough and/or in the right spots they will make the Champions League and will get enough allocation $$$ pay Eddie. Or maybe retention $$$ will be a way to keep him at a rate he’s happy with.

        Who knows. Other that it’s too soon to know where Eddie might be next year. Or how much he’s really worth and therefore can be paid.

        Seattle is in a situation where Brad Evans’ contract is up, Mauro Rosales’ DP deal expires at the end of 2013, and Ozzie Alonso is the guy who *really* deserves to get paid, as he’s pretty much the most important player on the team (but he’s signed beyond 2014, if I recall correctly).

        And then there’s Fredy Montero, who is still (technically) Seattle still owns. Montero is three or four times the player of Eddie Johnson, so as a Seattle fan, I think I’d prefer to see Montero come back and fill that 3rd DP spot. See ya Eddie, Mauro. Thanks for everything because they have both been just terrific in Seattle. Use the allocation $$/retention $$ to keep Brad around for a few more years.

        Ah, such problems.

  6. I know the Western teams much better than the Eastern, but here’s my list of most underpaid based on how much and how well I think they have played (With young players like Yedlin who didn’t play much before, it’s understandable, but the others often make no sense): Penedo, Mike Magee, Dominic Oduro, Connor Doyle (he must have gotten more at Derby County than what DC pays), Giles Barnes (pretty decent salary by MLS standards, but he has delivered more than his pay), Besler, Saad, Sapong, Villareal, Nguyen, Alexander, Barkledge, Wright-Phillips, Eddie Johnson (obvious), Yedlin, and Beitashour. Chivas seems to have the lowest payroll and it shows on the field. And then, there is such a striking disparity between the DP’s and the rest. For example, is Tim Cahill worth 10 Saborios? I don’t think so, but he is getting about 10 times as much. The league would be better off if they reduced the # of DP’s to 2 and doubled the salary cap. They could get a lot of the guys like Saborio, Barnes, Reo-Coker, et. al for the price of one DP. And, to echo the others, my how Charlie Davies has fallen.

  7. Soony Saad for 46k = steal. 4 goals and 4 assist for under fifty grand. Well done Vermes.
    Interesting to me that Bunbury makes more than Bieler.

    59k for Beitashour is pretty sweet as well.

  8. Schelotto was at $150k the first year, $750k the next. Contracts are so convoluted, I wouldn’t put much weight on these numbers. Allocation money, signing bonuses, escalators, it can get pretty crazy. It’s a paints a nice portrait of where we are at though.

    • I forget which interview it was in, but I remember reading Dempsey say that he never quite adjusted to the English game because it really frowned on individual flair and that in coming back to MLS, he could let that side of his game out again. That raised some red flags for me in terms of where his head is. It makes him seem like the guy at a pick up game who showboats with useless stepovers, rainbows, sombreros, etc., but is always crap when it comes to playing a serious, high-level game.

      • Except that we know Dempsey is more than capable of playing the serious high-level game.

        So what’s wrong with a little flair?

  9. Boss sure has fallen off from the expectations that people had of him coming up as a teenager. Now he’s making $50k on a terrible Toronto team. Traffic sent his career down a bad path.

  10. Only problem is to get Dempsey to play up to expectations. I feel he has big fish in small pond syndrome going on. Except the pond he thought was small has increased in size and fish.

  11. Wow Penedo is a steal at $82K. I’m shocked that the starting keeper for the Panama national team (and golden glove winner in the gold cup) can’t get a deal worth more than that. Unless he is taking a major LA discount to win silverware.

    Charlie Davies at $60K too…wow how he has fallen off.

    In terms of who might eclipse Dempsey’s salary in the future? I could see Kaka at NYRB making more, or maybe Pirlo with NYCFC (Pirlo could just sit in a lawn chair at midfield and drop dimes).

      • Well played, sir. Did Juninho even score a free kick goal at RBNY? All I can remember is him putting them into the wall.

        Besides, just look at Juninho. He looks like he is sixty years old and smoked 2 packs a day.

        When I asked colleagues of mine in Rio back in December if Juninho could still play, they all said that he was a great player and great pickup. Whatever.

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