We have seen some top flight stars come and go. Some at the end of their careers, and some who have made the leap to the MLS in their prime!
The top 10 money makers in 2016 took home a combined guaranteed paycheck of $59 million and another $21 million in bonuses and sponsorships, to collectively earn $80 million. Superstar salaries are a bit of a touchy subject as the average club is worth $185 million and where the median guaranteed salary is $117,000. 40 players make the bare minimum $51,500.
The list of four U.S. Men’s National Team members at an average age of 31 years old. The other six are European imports, five of which are in the twilight of their career and average 36-years old.
10 – Jozy Altidore signed with the club from Premier League side Sunderland. Which also saw previous TOP 10 money maker Jermaine Defoe make the swap from TFC to Sunderland.
Earning: $6.4 Million
Salary & Bonus: $4.9 Million
9 – Andrea Pirlo was the only new addition to the top 10, according to figures for 2016 salaries released by the MLS Players Union. For his first full season in the league, Pirlo’s $5.9 million in total compensation is an increase of $3.6 million from the year prior, when he joined NYCFC in July.
Earning: $7.4 Million
Salary & Bonus: $5.9 Million
8 – Michael Bradley, then 26-years old, joined the club from Serie A club AS Roma for a $10 million transfer fee. He has really embraced his role at TFC leading them to the 2016 MLS Cup Final, ultimately losing out to Seattle Sounders in pens.
Earning: $7.6 Million
Salary & Bonus: $6.6 Million
7 – David Villa was the fourth MLS player to make $6 million in base salary when he signed in late 2014 under a contract that keeps him in New York through the 2017 season. He started out on loan at Australian club Melbourne City, which is controlled by the same City Football Group that owns the majority of NYCFC.
Earning: $7.9 Million
Salary & Bonus: $5.9 Million
6 – Frank Lampard is the oldest among them. The 38-year old former England captain made $8 million. In November 2016, New York City FC announced that Lampard would leave as soon as his contract is finished. He was dubbed the worst signing in MLS history. Retiring from football early on in February 2017.
Earning: $8.0 Million
Salary & Bonus: $6.0 Million
5 – Tim Howard would finish the season with Everton, join up with the USMNT for the summer, then suit up for the Rapids starting in July. Much stipulation surrounded his signing with the Rapids as he would become the highest paid keeper in the MLS at just under $3.0 Million
Earning: $8 Million
Salary & Bonus: $5.5 Million**
** INCLUDES 2015/16 Everton Salary
4 – Clint Dempsey, the star of the Seattle Sounders is the top-earning U.S.-homegrown player. His sponsors including Nike, Lexus and Modelo. Late in September 2016 the Seattle Sounders announced that Dempsey would miss the remainder of the season due to an irregular heartbeat that has sidelined him for more than a month. He will return to action in 2017
Earning: $8.2 Million
Salary & Bonus: $4.7 Million
3 – Giovinco eased his transition to MLS with a reported five-year contract that is paying him $7.1 million in guaranteed compensation, 4 times more than he made in Italy. Sebastian Giovinco, named MLS MVP in 2015 in his first year in the league was fourth in voting in the 2016 season for the top player honours won by New York City FC forward David Villa.
Earning: $8.3 Million
Salary & Bonus: $7.3 Million
2 – U.K. national treasure Steven Gerrard, played his final game in November 2016, in the Galaxy’s last game of the MLS Cup Playoff. Gerrard took and scored Los Angeles’ first spot-kick but the club were eliminated after Giovanni dos Santos and Ashley Cole failed to convert. Slippy G would announce his retirement from professional football on November 24, 2016 at age 36.
Earning: $8.6 Million
Salary & Bonus: $6.1 Million
1 – Kaka’s league-high salary has remained steady through this season and combined with $2 million in endorsements, led by long-time shoe sponsor Adidas, the midfielder banks $9.4 million as the top-earning players in MLS.
Earning: $9.4 Million
Salary & Bonus: $7.4 Million
Some would argue that these salaries are not justified. But the profile of the MLS wouldn’t be what it is today without the likes of the Designated Players. Period!
Who will move into the TOP 10 in 2017?!?!