MLS salaries: What every Columbus SC participant earns this season


Look for salaries for The Crew and any other Major League Soccer team

by: Ben Orner

Posted: May 13, 2021 / 1:03 pm EDT
Updated: May 13, 2021 / 1:03 p.m. EDT

Lucas Zelarayan # 10 of Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against Jose Andres Martinez # 8 of Philadelphia Union during their game at Historic Crew Stadium on April 18, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn / Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus SC’s highest-paid player this year stood the test of time in last season’s MLS Cup final, scoring two goals in the team’s 3-0 win over Seattle.

According to the Major League Soccer Players Association, Lucas Zelarayan is the crew’s top earner in 2021 publication Thursday of the salaries for every MLS player. The 28-year-old Argentinian midfielder will receive a “guaranteed base pay” of $ 1,985,000 this year.

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According to the MLSPA, this term encompasses “a player’s base salary as well as any signed and guaranteed bonuses that are annualized over the life of the player’s contract, including option years”. However, performance bonuses are not included as they are not guaranteed.

However, Zelarayan doesn’t have the highest base salary among crew players. That would go to American midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who will earn a base salary of $ 1,710,000 this year, compared to Zelarayan’s $ 1,620,000.

The MLSPA has published player salaries every year since 2007. This year’s database is up to date until April 15th. The MLS team’s 27 payrolls range from Inter Miami’s total guaranteed amount of $ 17,803,479 to the Vancouver Whitecaps’ $ 8,699,229.

The crew occupies eighth place in the guaranteed payroll with just under 13.5 million US dollars.

The MLS player with the highest base salary is Javier Hernandez of LA Galaxy. The 32-year-old Mexican striker with two stops in the English Premier League is set to make at least $ 6 million this year.

However, the highest paid MLS player with guaranteed money is Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC. Vela, also a 32-year-old Mexican striker, will receive guaranteed base pay of $ 6.3 million this year. That’s $ 1.8 million on his base salary of $ 4.5 million.

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The MLSPA lists 786 players in their salary database. Sixty-eight players earn the minimum salary for MLS of $ 63,547 per year (including Columbus midfielder Isaiah Parente). Thirty-five of these 68 do not earn additional guaranteed money.

The average MLS player this year makes $ 382,818 base salary and $ 423,232 guaranteed money. The average base salary for a crew player is $ 330,978 and their average guaranteed money is $ 360,917.

The first publication since the new CBA came into force in February 2020 shows continued growth:

▶ ️ The salaries for posts 4 to 18 have increased by an average of more than 10% per year over the last 5 years
▶ ️ The average base salary for senior roster non-DPs has more than doubled in the last 5 years

– MLSPA (@MLSPA) May 13, 2021

Columbus is 1-1-2 this season and currently ranks eighth in the Eastern Conference with five points. The team’s next game is Sunday at the New England Revolution in Foxboro, Massachusetts on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.