How Much Does An MLS Soccer Player Make?

How Much Does An MLS Soccer Player Make

Major League Soccer (MLS) is one of the fastest-growing professional soccer leagues in the world, and many of their players are paid handsomely for their efforts. Like with any sport, MLS salaries can range widely depending on a player’s record and which team they sign with. Read on to learn how much MLS soccer players make on a yearly basis.

Base Salary and Guaranteed Compensation

MLS salaries are split into two categories: Annualized Base Salary and Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation. The Annualized Base Salary of a player is the basic salary they agreed to play for the team for, and these MLS base salaries can be anywhere from $65,500 to well over $1 million USD.

The Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation measures an athlete’s total compensation package, including any guaranteed bonuses (like marketing or signing bonuses). This amount is figured by dividing any bonuses by the number of years the player signed a contract for and then adding the quotient to the base salary. MLS guaranteed compensations range from $65,500 to $14 million.

Highest Paid Teams

The salary range of Major League Soccer players, as is the case in most professional sports organizations, is quite large. Interestingly, how much you will get paid as a professional soccer player depends greatly on which MLS team you sign a contract with. Nashville SC pays their players, on average, only $168,300, the lowest average in the league. 

Toronto FC, in comparison, has the highest average salary in MLS at $928,477 and the highest yearly wage bill of any club, at $26.9 million. Nashville SC meanwhile only paid players a total of $5.1 million, a fifth of Toronto FC. For a more middle-of-the road look at these statistics, the New England Revolution was the 15th highest paying MLS team in 2023 (out of 29). An average Revolution athlete made $366,500, amassing a total wage bill of $9.5 million for the team.

Highest Paid Players

From the 2021 season to the 2022 season, there was a 14% increase in the average MLS salary, raising the average from $200,333 to $248,333. For 2022, the minimum base salary any MLS player received was $65,000. The immense range of MLS salaries is striking when you compare that $65,000 with the highest 2022 league salaries of Xherdan Shaqiri at $8.1 million or Javier Hernandez at 6 million. 

In 2023, Canadian-born Lorenzo Insigne raised the standard of highest salaries in the MLS even higher when he signed with the Chicago Fire for $14 million. Insigne’s immense salary now makes up 46% of the Chicago Fire’s total annual wage bill.

FAQ

How much do MLS players make on average?

On average, Major League Soccer players collect a base salary of $248,333 USD. The lowest-paid athletes make $65,000, playing alongside other athletes making well over $1 million. The current highest salary of an MLS player is Lorenzo Insigne, whose base salary amounts to $14 million. Some other highly-paid MLS athletes are Xherdan Shaqiri ($8,000,000) and Javier Hernandez ($6,000,000).

Do MLS players have a base salary?

Yes, Major League Soccer players have a base salary. The base salary of an MLS athlete is their annual payment before any bonuses are added. The number a player receives after bonuses are figured in is referred to as their Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation. The lowest MLS base salary is $65,000, and the highest is $14 million.