Beckham's salary revealed; Reyna top U.S. earner

May 4, 2007

NEW YORK -- The goal of Major League Soccer players is to earn it like Beckham.

David Beckham will receive more than double what any other player in MLS is getting this year and more than 50 times the average salary, according to data released Friday by the league's players' union.

Beckham, the former English captain who joins the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer, has $6.5 million in guaranteed income that includes a $5.5 million base salary this year, the union said. That's 10 times more than what any player is getting outside the top six.

Mexican forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who is joining the Chicago Fire this summer, is second with $2,666,778 in guaranteed income, including a base salary of $2,492,316. Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel, who signed with the New York Red Bulls, is third with $1,593,750 in guaranteed income, including a $1.5 million salary,

Former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna is the top-paid American in the league. The midfielder is guaranteed $1,250,008 with the Red Bulls, including $1,000,008 in base salary.

Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is fifth at $900,000, all of it base salary, followed by Kansas city forward Eddie Johnson at $875,000 ($750,000 base salary) and Real Salt Lake midfielder Freddy Adu at $550,000 ($300,000 base salary).

Guaranteed income also includes a prorated share of signing bonuses plus marketing bonuses payable in 2007. Player representatives voted to make the salary information public.

"This decision was made to facilitate the accurate reporting of this information and to help educate the public regarding player compensation," union executive director Bob Foote said.

Thirty-two players earn the league minimum of $30,000, and developmental players get even less: 35 make $17,700 and 56 get $12,900. Only the top six players in the league have salaries above the major league baseball minimum of $380,000.

The average guaranteed salary for the 356 players listed is $115,478 and the median -- the point at which an equal amount make above and below -- is $52,965. Seventy four percent of the players have base salaries of $100,000 or less.

Beckham, Blanco, Angel and Reyna all signed with MLS during the offseason under the league's new designated player rule. The league, which paid players from a central fund in its first 11 seasons, is responsible for up to $400,000 of a player's salary, with the remainder paid by his team.

Figures include income only from a player's MLS contract, and not from any deals he may have with his team or its affiliates. That's a key point with Beckham, who is leaving Real Madrid to join the Galaxy.

AEG, the company that runs the Galaxy, trumpeted a much larger income figure when the agreement with the midfielder was announced in February.

"The deal to bring Beckham to America is thought to be the biggest in sporting history, with industry experts estimating the worth to the player in excess of $250 million," AEG's news release said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press