MLS growth reflected by players' salaries

Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action with LA Galaxy against Toronto FC

USA Today

The MLS Players Association revealed the range of salaries of players in the league, highlighting a 150% growth in revenues in the last five years.

The MLS Players Association released its 2019 Salary Guide as part of the transparency programme, highlighting a growth of 150% in five years for non-Designated Players.

The average annual salary of a non-Designated Player now stands at 345,867 dollars, meaning a growth of 13.3% from last year, and a remarkable increase since 2014: five years ago, they were paid an average of 138,140 dollars a year.

The base salary of a player who is registered in the Collective Bargaining Agreement is 70,000 dollars, while reserve players pick up around 50,000. A reason behind the improvement in salaries is the growth of the MLS, with the excellent administration of the league bringing about a more financially prosperous competition.

MLS Base Salary Growth

MLS Base Salary Growth

Bob Foose, MLSPA CEO, expressed his happiness at this growth, declaring that if the league continues on the same path, the growth will continue. "We are encouraged by the constant salary growth that has occurred in each of the last five years. As the league grows and revenues increase, we will see it reflected in the compensation of the players on the list."

Designated Players

Major League Soccer allows teams to have a maximum of three Designated Players but does not oblige clubs to register all three.

Top 10 highest-paid players in 2019 MLS season

Player Team Salary
Zlatan Ibrahimovic LA Galaxy 7.2 million
Michael Bradley Toronto FC 6 million
Bastian Scheweinsteiger Chicago Fire 5.6 million
Jozy Altidore Toronto FC 4.8 million
Giovani dos Santos MLS 4.7 million
Carlos Vela LAFC 4.5 million
Alejandro Pozuelo Melero Toronto FC 3.8 million
Wayne Rooney DC United 3.5 million
Josef Martínez Atlanta United 3 million
Nani Orlando City 2.3 million

Thanks to this rule, players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Carlos Vela, Wayne Rooney and Nani have been brought to the MLS, as they have salaries of more than 2m dollars. Ibrahimovic is the highest-paid player in MLS history.

The team with the most players in the MLS' top 10 leading earners is Toronto FC, a franchise that has used up all three of its Designated Player spots.