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Kaka, Giovinco remain highest earners in latest MLS salary data

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports

The MLS Players Union announced the 2016 salaries on Thursday morning, and international stars Orlando City’s Kaka and Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco top the list.

Kaka is the highest paid player, making a guaranteed $7,167,500 in 2016 and Giovinco isn’t far behind at  $7,115,555.67. In total, twenty-three players make over $1 million.

Among the U.S. Men’s National Team players, Michael Bradley is paid the highest at $6,500,000. Jozy Altidore is second at $4,825,000, Clint Dempsey isn’t fair behind in third with $4,605,941.50 and Tim Howard will make $2,575,000.

The Los Angeles Galaxy trio of Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos combine to make over approximately $13.8 million. Gerrard will make $6,132,500, Dos Santos $4,250,000 and Keane $3,500,000.

New York City stars Andrea Pirlo and David Villa make $5,915,690 and $5,610,000, respectively. Frank Lampard, who hasn’t played yet in the 2016 season, is set to make $6 million.

Seattle Sounders newcomer Jordan Morris is set to make $190,500. While other new players Nigel de Jong will make $500,000 and Ashley Cole $327,625.

Which players’ salary sticks out to you most? Share your thoughts below.


  1. The amusing thing to me as a Dynamo fan is how the salary structure does not correlate to usefulness whatsoever. Torres has sat a lot until recently and makes $650k. Beasley is not that dominant for a DP making $800k+. Barnes makes $700k plus for mediocre production. $500k plus on mediocre or bad Spanish players. Nearly $200k on Collen Warner. And then you look at people getting significant playing time for less than $100k and it’s like Willis, Anibaba, Horst, Manotas, Mansally, and Miranda. Who are OK and probably making what they are worth, but seeing lots of PT.

    Does not feel to me like a well-thought out personnel approach. Bruin is a political football of sorts around Houston but ironically him, Maidana, and Wenger are the few people whose ~$300k salaries are about right and correlate to production. Wanna know why Houston stinks, we have overrated and overpaid DPs and then are actually using some fairly mediocre and cheap five figure players as routine people in our rotation. Then have bench players making six figures and as much as a half million. Need to get back to the Dom years when players’ compensation correlated to experience plus quality and not just experience or prospecthood.

    • Holy Spreadsheet. You getting paid for this??? No? This is a “just in my spare time” hobby? That’s insane. I admire your level of effort though. I’d tell you to get a life, but since I’m turning your… your what? public tableau? into my wallpaper, I guess I’ll have to let you live!

      • LOL well, this is my day job…granted, not for MLS data. But luckily I have sweet tools like Tableau (and data prep tools) that make this pretty straight forward to do.

  2. Imagine if you added 6, one million dollar players on NYFC or LAGs rosters in place of Lampard and Gerrard. Imagine how strong those sides would be. Speechless.

      • The problem with that is that there has to be room for American players, and American players are not worth that much money now. That is why player development is even more important than raising the salary cap.

      • That’s correct. Player salaries reflect more than just on-field performance. That said – Lampard IS ripping off NYCFC. THAT said – Gerrard’s been rather in form of late. Really like the way he plays. Organizes his team without any flash. Doesn’t score goals unless it’s necessary or obvious. And if you’re wondering if he can still play, peep his last goal with LA. Double nutmeg pull-up fade away chip? That was just rude.

    • I don’t think he got paid for 2 years, but if I was NYC I would be looking to re-coop that via lawsuit.
      And yes hate the player, that takes some seriously low moral bar to do what he is doing/has done.

      It is one thing to not be good enough, which he probably isn’t, but to collect with no intention of trying to play because you aren’t going to try to be good enough. Wow, that really takes something most of don’t have, a lack of any morals.

      • I don’t think he got paid for 2 years

        If I’m understanding you correctly – you’re stating Lampard didn’t collect a check in the time he’s been out “injured”? Do you have anything to validate this or add clarity to what you’re attempting to say?

      • Or is he referring to him not showing up to NYCFC until the middle of last season because of his time at Man. City.

  3. 23 players make over a million. That’s one of the saddest things I’ve read all day. MLS will never be a top 5 league in the world am I right or am I right?

    • I don’t think you are right at all.

      One, you are assuming this is 100% efficient. Lampard and Gerrard making $6 million, while Morris being paid $190k, shows it is not.

      Two, you are assuming pay is 100% based on performance on the field. When jersey sales etc are a big, big part of pay reasons for salaries. Rooney getting paid huge money for his name, for his accomplishments isn’t going to happen to a US player to that degree as it stands now. And the US player certainly isn’t going to sell the jerseys in England. So what? He can still play soccer, and probably has a better left than Rooney.

      • Lol so you think the MLS will be a top 5 league? Dude it’s ok to be a soccer fan in American without being ignorant to the fact that our best players should be overseas playing in the best leagues.

        It’s ok to not have a good league here, just accept it

      • It’s okay to not have a good domestic league in the US? No, not acceptable at all. However, we have to be realistic about how and when that can happen. Great progress, but we are still a ways off. It will happen in our lifetime though.

      • Rbender, you are conflating pay with performance. Some would argue English players, and in particular their domestic transfer fees, are out of whack too high on cost.

        Heck, the Financial Fair Play rules that have arguably brought some parity and big club struggles to Europe, are basically Europe going all the way past MLS’ salary cap and imposing accounting standards on revenue vs cost, which we don’t even do. They can spend much more than our cap, yes, but have to show their accounting work to justify it.

        In the opinion of many Europeans who come here to play, coach, or visit, we are closing the gap quickly, and have a fairly high standard. All that without breaking the bank or imitating NASL’s recipe for failure.

    • Never is too strong of a word, but by 2022 as Garber has publicly stated multiple times will not happen.

      It’s a young league and it hasn’t folded, but there’s a lot to be desired about the league from a fans perspective. League is pretty boring outside of a few clubs and there’s far too many apathetic fans.

    • 20 of those 23 have entered the league since 2016. Continue the growth and MLS gets there eventually… Salary cap needs to be loosened drastically and player development needs to accelerate, but we’ll get there.

      • Ah, there we go, there’s a bright idea, a league with modest salaries should develop more players of its own. The Ajax model. I think that’s smarter and longer term wiser than competing with the Big Clubs of Europe for salary, which is a recipe for financial ruin.

        The catch 22 is that you still have to spend money to make money, even on youth development. But I think the present approach of keeping salaries reined in, paired with spending six figures per team on club youth systems, and doing them right, would bear more fruit, less expensively, than splashing out on foreign buys. It would also redound to the benefit of the US, as opposed to make us attractive as a payday. The sales pitch needs to be America and benefitting our soccer long term, not just waving bills around to see who comes over.

  4. lampard’s salary is criminal. He should give every cent of it back to NYCFC/MLS. He is stealing and everyone knows it.


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