The 2019 Salary Guide contains salary information for all MLS players under contract as of September 13th, 2019.
In the Guide, player salaries are broken down into two numbers:
- Current Annualized Base Salary
- Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation
The Annual Average Guaranteed Compensation (Guaranteed Comp) 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.
For example, a player earning an annual base salary of $500,000, whose contract has an initial term of two years with two one-year options and received a $100,000 signing bonus, his average annual guaranteed compensation would be $525,000 (base salary plus signing bonus ($100,000), with the signing bonus divided by the number of years covered by the contract (4)).
The Average Annual Guaranteed Compensation figure also includes any marketing bonus and any agent’s fees, both 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.
These figures include compensation from each player’s contract with MLS. They do not include any compensation from any contracts with individual teams or their affiliates.
The 2019 MLS Player Salary Guide was made available by the MLSPA:
Average Base Salary Senior Roster Non-Designated Player
The Average Base Salary for Senior Roster Non-Designated Players is calculated by sorting the Roster Category to include only players in the Senior Roster Category (No DP, No Supplemental, No Supplemental Reserve) and calculating the Average of the base salaries of Senior Roster Category players.
Average Base Salary by Roster Spot
The Average Base Salary by Roster Spot is calculated using the senior roster for each team by (1) sorting players per roster from highest to lowest based on their base salary (2) Taking the 18 highest paid players on the roster (including DPs) and assigning them to spots 1-18 in order of their base salary (highest to lowest) (3) Averaging the salaries by roster spot for each spot (e.g. avg. of 24 Roster Spot #1s, avg. of 24 Roster Spot #2s, etc.).
Designated Player (DP)
The league allows each club to acquire up to three players whose total compensation and acquisition costs exceed the maximum budget charge. Clubs are responsible for any amount exceeding the respective DP’s budget charge. The rule was first introduced in 2007 in order to give clubs more flexibility to sign lucrative deals with marquee players.
The 18-20 players on the Senior Roster count against the club’s budget. If a club does not fill at least 18 Senior Roster spots, each missing slot will count as a player earning the Senior Minimum.
Players on the Supplemental and Reserve Roster are “off budget.” There are two kinds of Supplemental Roster players: Those occupying roster spots 21-24 who must earn at least the Senior Minimum, and those occupying roster spots 25-30 who may earn the Reserve Minimum, but must be 25 years old or younger. Spots 29 and 30 are limited to Homegrown players.
Senior Roster Non-Designated Player Average Base Salary
This describes the average base salary for any player on the Senior Roster, excluding Designated Players and any “off-budget” (i.e. Supplemental, Reserve) players.