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Kaka, Bradley, Defoe, top MLS salary charts

KakaOrlandoCityIntroducedPressConference1 (OrlandoCitySC)


He hasn’t played a second of soccer in MLS, but Kaka is already the league’s highest-paid player.

The MLS Players Union revealed the salary figures for every player in the league on Monday afternoon, and topping the charts is marquee Orlando City SC signing Kaka. The Brazilian made waves when he turned down lucrative options in Europe to join MLS, but he’ll still be earning a pretty penny playing as a Designated Player in Florida starting in March.

He’s set to earn a base salary of $6.66 million and a total salary of $7,167,500.

Clint Dempsey is next on the list and is set to earn a base salary of $4,913,004 and total compensation of $6,695,188.75.

Kaka’s salary bumps down the duo that made headlines last January for being a “Bloody big deal,” Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe. Both players are on a base salary of $6 million, but Bradley is set to earn $6.5 million this season in total guaranteed compensation, while Defoe has a contract for $6.18 million total.

Landon Donovan rounds out the top five with a total compensation of $4,583,333.33, just ahead of teammate Robbie Keane who is set to earn $4.5 million this season.

Of some of the the significant new signings since the last roster release, Jermaine Jones is earning a salary of $3 million base and $3,252,500 total, Liam Ridgewell is earning $1.2 million with the Portland Timbers, and DaMarcus Beasley is earning $750,000.

It should be noted that these numbers are only somewhat misleading for some players, as there are certain mechanisms such as allocation money or retention funds that can keep a player’s listed salary down in the salary cap while the player can still earn a nice check.

New York City FC’s first signing, David Villa, is listed on the salary release as earning $60,000, which is surely much less than what he’ll be making from both the club and the league.

Here’s a complete list of the MLS salaries as of Sept. 29.

Here’s a look at the top ten MLS earners in guaranteed compensation:

1. Kaka – $7,167,500.
2. Clint Dempsey – $6,695,188.75.
3. Michael Bradley – $6,500,000.
4. Jermain Defoe – $6,180,000.
5. Landon Donovan – $4,583,333.33.
6. Robbie Keane – $4,500,000.
7. Thierry Henry – $4,350,000.
8. Tim Cahill – $3,625,000.
9. Jermaine Jones – $3,252,500.
10. Marco Di Vaio – $2,600,000.


What do you think of this list? Impressed that Orlando City spent so much on Kaka? Which salary figures surprise you? Which players do you think deserve a pay raise for next season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The disparity in pay in this league is insane. The top guys are making a fortune, while the bottom guys are not earning enough to rent a 1 bedroom apartment in LA or NYC. I hope the new CBA does something to minimize the gap, at least a little.

  2. Take those 10 players, add Villa and Lampard, and imagine a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. Who of those 12 starts in front of the back 4, who is on the bench, and who gets left off on a 23-man side assuming a usual group of defenders and goalies? Whatever lineup you trot out, that would make a very solid side pretty much anywhere.

  3. The last 4 will never win an MLS cup , that’s sad. By the way Bradley is super over priced and mls couldn’t pay ronaldinho 2 million a season wtf.

  4. since Jones came half way through, he is only making half his salary, right? talking base salary, he’s not making $3.0M for half a season, is he? i remember Ives saying his salary was $4.5M over 2014 and 2015. if he is only making $1.5M this season, then that $4.5M number is spot on.

  5. Yea love to see orlando willing to open the pocket but the numbers for David villa and frank lampard were not included and supposedly bigger

    • Funny thing is David Villa is listed at $60,000 per year. That’ll obviously increase by a hundred times when OCSC starts playing, but it’s amusing for now.


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