Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Union paying Freddy Adu nearly $600,000

The Major League Soccer Players Union has released its latest round of player salary figures. It's the first time since the Union signed Freddy Adu that we have gotten official confirmation of how much money he makes.

Union paying Freddy Adu nearly $600,000

Freddy Adu is earning almost $600,000 in guaranteed compensation from the Union. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Freddy Adu is earning almost $600,000 in guaranteed compensation from the Union. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

The Major League Soccer Players Union has released its latest round of player salary figures. It's the first time since the Union signed Freddy Adu that we have gotten official confirmation of how much money he makes.

Not surprisingly, Adu is the highest-paid player on the Union's roster. The 22-year-old's base salary is $475,884, and his guaranteed compensation figure is $594,884.

What's the difference between base salary and guaranteed compensation? The MLSPU's explanation is reasonably straightforward:

The annual average guaranteed compensation number includes a player's base salary and all signing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player's contract, including option years.

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For example, if a player has a base salary of $50,000, has a two-year contract with two one-year options and received a $10,000 bonus when he signed, his average annual guaranteed compensation would be $52,500 (base salary plus signing bonus [$10,000], with the signing bonus divided by the number of years covered by the contract [4]).

The average annual guaranteed compensation number also includes any annual marketing bonus to be received in the current year and any agent's fees annualized over the term of the contract.

The average annual guaranteed compensation figure does not include performance bonuses because there is no guarantee that the player will hit those bonuses.

Adu's salary figure seems to qualify him as a designated player even though that hasn't been officially stated by anyone. According to Major League Soccer's roster rules roster rules:

In 2011, a Designated Player’s salary budget charge will be $335,000, unless the player joins his club in the middle of the season, in which case his budget charge will be $167,500

[...]

Clubs have the option of “buying down” the budget charge of a Designated Player with allocation money. The reduced charge may not be less than $150,000.

Technically, if you apply the entire "buying down" maximum to Adu's base salary, you get under $335,000. That net figure is $325,884. But if you go from the guaranteed compensation figure, the net figure is $444,884.

Which is the number that actually matters? MLS' salary rules are pretty murky, but I would guess from the MLSPU's description that base salary is the figure that's used in salary cap calculations.

In addition to Adu's pay figures, it's also worth noting that we now know Veljko Paunović's salary: $90,000, both as base and as guaranteed compensation.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for: a complete list of the the Union's payroll figures. Base salaries are listed first, then guaranteed compensation.

Freddy Adu: $475,884.00 / $594,884.00
Danny Califf: $250,000.00 / $250,000.00
Brian Carroll: $160,000.00 / $160,000.00
Keon Daniel: $42,000.00 / $46,410.00

Gabriel Farfan: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00
Michael Farfan: $42,000.00 / $79,500.00
Juan Diego González: $189,000.00 / $193,462.50
Levi Houapeu: $32,604.00 / $32,604.00

Sébastien Le Toux: $155,000.00 / $179,000.00
Zac MacMath: $80,000.00 / $125,000.00
Justin Mapp: $175,000.00 / $183,333.33
Jack McInerney: $71,250.00 / $135,416.67

Stefani Miglioranzi: $130,000.00 / $153,125.00
Faryd Mondragón: $230,000.00 / $396,666.67
Danny Mwanga: $120,000.00 / $226,250.00
Kyle Nakazawa: $44,000.00 / $44,000.00

Amobi Okugo: $85,000.00 / $168,000.00
Veljko Paunović: $90,000.00 / $90,000.00
Zach Pfeffer: $55,000.00 / $65,000.00
Ryan Richter: $32,604.00 / $32,604.00

Joe Tait: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00
Roger Torres: $105,600.00 / $108,725.00
Carlos Valdés: $180,000.00 / $180,000.00
Sheanon Williams: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00

The total base salary is $2,870,942. The total guaranteed compensation is $3,569,985.40.

If you are wondering who Joe Tait is, you probably aren't alone. Tait is a defender who has been with the team for a few weeks now as a trialist, dating back to the friendly in Harrisburg on August 24. He had been playing for the PDL's Dayton Dutch Lions this season before joining the Union.

A native of Middlesborough, England, Tait was the PDL's Defender of the Year in 2010, when he played for the Baton Rouge Capitals. There's more information on Tait's background at The Brotherly Game.

The Twitter hawks among you probably already knew of Tait's existence, but I don't recall ever seeing anywhere an official statement that Tait was signed. It must have happened at some point, though, or else he wouldn't be in the players union.

UPDATE: The Union announced the Tait signing this afternoon. So it wasn't just me.


Now for some league-wide numbers that you might be interested to know.

Across the league, the total base salary figure for all players combined is $74,991,075.63. The total guaranteed compensation figure for all players combined is $85,079,475.83.

The average base salary is $142,840.14. The average guaranteed compensation is $162,056.14.

The median base salary is $67,500.00. The median guaranteed compensation is $79,764.38.

The mode (most common) base salary is $42,000. The mode guaranteed compensation is also $42,000.

There are a total of 17 players making $500,000 or more in guaranteed compensation. Most of the names on the list won't surprise you, but perhaps a few will. Here they are:

David Beckham, Los Angeles: $5,500,000.08 / $6,500,000.04
Thierry Henry, New York: $5,000,000.04 / $5,600,000.04
Rafael Márquez, New York: $4,600,000.00 / $4,600,000.00
Robbie Keane, Los Angeles: $2,917,241.40 / $3,417,243.15

Landon Donovan, Los Angeles: $2,300,000.00 / $2,300,000.00
Julian de Guzman, Toronto: $1,863,996.00 / $1,910,746.00
Danny Koevermans, Toronto FC: $999,996.00 / $1,413,319.33
Juan Pablo Ángel, Chivas USA: $1,000,000.00 / $1,250,000.00

Torsten Frings, Toronto FC: $699,996.00 / $1,113,662.67
Eric Hassli, Vancouver: $660,000.00 / $900,000.00
David Ferreira, FC Dallas: $600,000.00 / $705,000.00
Fredy Montero, Seattle: $500,000.00 / $656,000.00

Andres Mendoza, Columbus: $500,000.00 / $595,000.00
Freddy Adu, Philadelphia: $475,884.00 / $594,884.00
Frank Rost, New York: $545,460.00 / $545,460.00
Branko Bošković, D.C. United: $389,166.67 / $525,366.67
Shalrie Joseph, New England: $475,000.00 / $500,000.00

At the bottom of the ladder, a total of eight players are making the minimum listed salary: $32,600. The only one you might have heard of is Chicago's Orr Barouch, who played the second half of the Fire's game at PPL Park back in May.

Nine players are fortunate enough to make four cents more each. Yes, their listed salaries are $32,600.04. The best-known among that group is San Jose midfielder Anthony Ampapitakwong, who played in both of the Earthquakes' games against the Union this season.

A total of 37 players are just a few dollars better off: they make $32,604 each. Among them are former Union reserve forward Chris Agorsor and Sounders midfielder Lamar Neagle.

Neagle, who was born and raised near Seattle, has been absolutely tearing it up over the last few weeks. He might be the best value for money in MLS right now.

Overall, the league's highest base compensation (David Beckham's) is 199.387 times greater than the league's lowest base compensation.


The last time MLS salary figures were published was back in May. My blog post from that release is here. I thought it would be interesting to compare some figures from earlier in the season to the corresponding figures now.

Since May, the average salary in MLS has risen by $4,778.32, and the average guaranteed compensation has risen by $7,204.44.

But the median numbers have fallen. The median base salary is down by $2,500.00, and the median guaranteed compensation is down by $285.62.

As far as I can tell, there has been a net increase of seven players on the league-wide payroll. I don't have time to go through all of the new arrivals, but a few of them are worth discussing.

Since that May release, there has been a net addition of four players who make more than $500,000 in guaranteed compensation. That figure comes from five players who have joined the league and one who left.

The player who left is former Mexican national team starlet Nery Castillo, who had been on the Chicago Fire's payroll in 2010 as a Designated Player. He departed Chicago back in January, so his salary probably shouldn't have been in the May figures, but for some reason it was there anyway.

The five players who have joined the league are Robbie Keane, Danny Koevermans, Torsten Frings, Freddy Adu and Frank Rost. You already know how much Adu has played. Here's what we've seen so far from the other four newcomers.

Keane has played two games since joining the Galaxy, including a goal on his debut, and has since been with the Republic of Ireland's national team. 

Koevermans and Frings have played regularly for Toronto since joining the club in late July, but the Reds are in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Rost has played three and a half games for New York, but has not seen the field since August 6 because of a quadriceps injury. 

If you ask me, that's not a lot of return on some very big investments by clubs in three of Major League Soccer's biggest markets.


Here are some more players whose current salary figures I find interesting. You can read through the entire leaguwide payroll by downloading this spreadsheet that I put together.

Dwayne de Rosario, D.C. United: $425,000.00 / $493,750.00
Carlos Costly, Houston: $335,000.04 / $425,583.37 (Honduras national team star)
Brian Ching, Houston: $375,000.00 / $412,500.00
Jay DeMerit, Vancouver: $300,000.00 / $350,000.00

Benny Feilhaber, New England: $300,000.00 / $346,000.00
Bobby Convey, San Jose: $313,500.00 / $336,000.00 (Philadelphia native/Penn Charter)
Charlie Davies, D.C. United: $184,620.00 / $244,870.00
Darlington Nagbe, Portland: $65,000.00 / $201,000.00

Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles: $120,000.00 / $197,000.00 (When will Jurgen Klinsmann call him up?)
Steve Zakuani, Seattle: $90,000.00 / $188,000.00
Luis Gil, Real Salt Lake: $90,250.00 / $185,333.33 (17 years old)
Shavar Thomas, Kansas City: $160,000.00 / $174,375.00 (Former Union player)

Omar Bravo, Kansas City: $120,000.00 / $170,000.00
Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado: $165,000.00 / $165,000.00 (Chestnut Hill Academy)
Andy Najar, D.C. United: $125,000.00 / $155,800.00
Jeff Cunningham, Columbus: $140,000.00 / $152,500.00 (MLS' all-time leading goal scorer)

Jeff Parke, Seattle: $136,500.00 /$136,500.00 (Abington, Pa., native/Drexel University)
Brek Shea, FC Dallas: $100,000.00 / $128,000.00 (MVP candidate)
Omar Salgado, Vancouver: $80,000.00 / $121,868.67 (18 years old)
Chris Seitz, FC Dallas: $100,000.00 / $100,000.00 (Former Union player)

Frankie Hejduk, Los Angeles: $96,000.00 / $96,000.00 (Still going after all these years)
Corey Hertzog, New York: $65,000.00 / $93,500.00 (Reading, Pa., native/Penn State)
Juan Agudelo, New York: $55,000.00 / $85,000.00 (You might have heard of him)
Jon Conway, Chicago: $70,000.00 / $79,833.33 (Media, Pa., native/Rutgers)

Dan Gargan, Chicago: $70,000.00 / $70,000.00 (Philadelphia native/Chestnut Hill Academy)
Jordan Harvey, Vancouver: $61,875.00 / $63,125.00 (Former Union player)
Tim Ream, New York: $55,125.00 / $62,625.00
Milton Caraglio, New England: $54,000.00 / $54,000.00 (Designated Player)

Diego Fagundez, New England: $52,500.00 / $53,500.00 (16 years old)
David Horst, Portland: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00 (Pine Grove, Pa., native)
Joao Plata, Toronto FC: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00
Mauro Rosales, Seattle: $42,000.00 / $42,000.00 (Another MVP candidate)

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