Beckham Will Be The Highest-Paid MLS Player by Far

Saturday, May 5, 2007

English superstar David Beckham will be the highest-paid player in MLS by a wide margin with a base salary of $5.5 million and guaranteed compensation of $6.5 million, according to documents released by the league's players' union yesterday.

Beckham, who will join the Los Angeles Galaxy in July, also is expected to collect several million dollars from his team's investor, Anschutz Entertainment Group, from marketing opportunities and profit-sharing considerations.

Beckham's earnings are in stark contrast to the nearly 30 percent of the players in MLS, who, under developmental contracts, are paid either $17,700 or $12,900.

Three other players also will earn more than $1 million: Chicago forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Mexico), New York forward Juan Pablo Angel (Colombia) and New York midfielder Claudio Reyna, the former U.S. World Cup captain who joined MLS this spring after a 12-year European career. All four of the players earning more than $1,000,000 were signed under the league's new designated player rule, in which clubs are permitted to sign world-class players to salaries beyond the league norm.

Beckham's future teammate, Landon Donovan, will earn $900,000, while U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson of Kansas City will collect $875,000 overall, but under a one-year grandfather clause, they are not considered designated players.

The average guaranteed salary in the league is $115,432, but it drops to $82,901 without the four designated players.

D.C. United has so far decided not to pursue a designated player this year, and its payroll reflects it. Only seven of its players will earn more than $100,000 this season, led by Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio's $293,125.

The most glaring United salary is Bobby Boswell's $30,870, but the 2006 MLS defender of the year turned down a recent contract offer that would have at least tripled his earnings. Boswell apparently wants to keep his options open after his current deal ends next year and consider possible overseas offers. Some MLS players have faced resistance from the league when foreign clubs offer to purchase their rights while under contract.

United Notes: Brazilian midfielder Fred did not practice yesterday after suffering a groin injury during Thursday's 1-1 tie with New England and seems certain to sit out tomorrow's match against Chivas USA at RFK Stadium. Defender Devon McTavish (hip flexor) also is expected to miss the game. . . . United has finalized a partnership with Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro, which will lead to interaction between the clubs and might pave the way for D.C. players to train in Brazil during the MLS offseason.

-- Steven Goff

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