Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crew Gets More For Less

The Columbus Crew not only won their first MLS Cup and the Supporters Shield in 2008, they did it with the cheapest payroll in major league soccer, a Nordecke Luchador analysis has found.

With an average salary of $79,949, the Columbus Crew ranked dead last in the amount it paid its field workers in 2008. The second cheapest team, Chivas USA ($74,723.37), paid its players nearly 4 percent more on average than Columbus.

The team with the most generous average payroll, the Galaxy, paid its players an average of $278,181, nearly four times as much as the Crew. Of course, this figure is somewhat skewed by the ridiculous salary paid to David Beckham.

El Luchador based his analysis on the official numbers from the MLS Players Union. The salary listed for each individual player is an average of that player’s base salary and his guaranteed compensation. For a copy of the Excel database, email

On the one hand, it is a tribute to the hard work and talent of the players that they had the best performance with the worst compensation. On the other hand, the capitalists who run the Crew factory should be ashamed of themselves, and should look to increase compensation in the coming year as certain contracts come up for renegotiation.

Here’s a look at some key numbers:

  • Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the league MVP and MVP of the MLS Cup, who was snubbed in the MLS All-Star game, was the 16th highest paid player in 2008 at $312,500.
  • Schelotto was the only Crew player in the top 20.
  • The second highest paid Crew player was mid-season acquisition Pat Noonan, who earned $175,008 and was the 45th highest paid player in the league.
  • The highest paid goalkeeper in the league was San Jose’s Joe Cannon at $213,000.
  • By position across the league, goalkeepers are the lowest paid ($58,147), followed by defenders ($74,792).
  • Midfielders are paid the most on average ($156,498), but if you remove Beckam’s unearned and exorbitant pay, the number is actually $114,000, making forwards the highest paid at $134,916.

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