TUKWILA — Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey remains the highest-paid player in MLS, according to data released Thursday by the players’ union. In fact, his guaranteed compensation of nearly $6.7 million in salary plus bonuses is on pace to exceed the total payroll of 15 of 19 teams in the league.
Dempsey is also making more than the rest of his teammates, who stand to earn roughly $5.1?million combined, led by designated player Obafemi Martins at $1.75 million.
Seattle’s payroll of about $11.8 million ranks third in the league behind Toronto FC ($16.6?million) and the Los Angeles Galaxy ($13.1 million).
Toronto FC went on a spending spree in the offseason, signing U.S. national team star Michael Bradley and English international Jermain Defoe, who at $6.5 million and $6.18 million are the second- and third-highest paid players in MLS.
On the other end of the spectrum, the league’s minimum salary is $48,500 for veterans and $36,500 for players age 24 and under.
With such a disparity between the top and bottom of the roster, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was asked Thursday if salaries being made public can affect the dynamic of the locker room.
Schmid started off with an anecdote: “My uncle in Germany had a company where he made sweaters, and obviously the seamstresses were primarily female. He said if somebody walked in with a new dress that day, it made for a bad day. Everybody was concerned about, ‘How did she get the money to buy the new dress? Is he paying her more per piece than they’re paying me?’ I think there is always that in any workplace.”
And as it relates to MLS salaries, Schmid added: “I think for the most part guys know it, they look it up, but it doesn’t become an issue in the locker room.”
American forward Herculez Gomez, however, an MLS veteran and former lower-leagues Sounder playing in Mexico, posted on Twitter that when the league’s salaries are published, it is “never an easy day for anyone” and “very uncomfortable for all.”
Some notable figures for Seattle newcomers, many of whom took a pay cut to come here, include Jalil Anibaba’s $159,620, Kenny Cooper’s $265,625, Stefan Frei’s $150,000, Chad Marshall’s $286,667, Gonzalo Pineda’s $80,000 and Kent native Cam Weaver’s $49,004.
Three Sounders got new contracts in the offseason: Osvaldo Alonso became a DP, nearly doubling his salary to $400,000; Brad Evans got a 62 percent raise to about $293,000; and Lamar Neagle of Federal Way went from minimum salary to $110,000.