Jill Ellis received $90,000 in bonus and incentive compensation for coaching the U.S. women’s national soccer team to the 2015 World Cup title, less than a fifth of what Jurgen Klinsmann collected for guiding the men to the tournament’s second round a year earlier.
Ellis’s bonus was among the figures revealed in the U.S. Soccer Federation’s tax return for 2015-16, which was posted on the nonprofit organization’s website Tuesday night.
Coaches agree to terms of potential bonuses when they sign contracts; Ellis was hired in May 2014. After winning the 2015 championship, she signed a new deal with the federation, running through the 2019 World Cup in France. Salary and bonus details were not disclosed.
Ellis’s previous salary, according to the tax records, was $216,407. So the $90,000 bonus was 42 percent of her base earnings and, with other income, raised her total package between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, to $327,332.
Klinsmann’s base salary in 2015-16 grew to $3,050,000, a 12.7 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. Over his 5 1/2-year tenure, the former German superstar had, by far, the highest coaching salary in U.S. soccer history. He was also the technical director for men’s soccer.
Klinsmann received $500,000 in bonuses for the period covering the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — which constitutes 18 percent of his base earnings. The Americans finished second in the so-called Group of Death (featuring Germany and Portugal) before losing to Belgium in the round of 16.
Klinsmann did not receive any bonuses in 2015-16, according to the tax records.
Last November, after two defeats to start the final round of 2018 World Cup qualifying, Klinsmann was fired with two years left on his second contract. It’s unclear whether the USSF continues paying him or cut ties through a severance package. However, other USSF documents show a $6.2 million payout involving “MNT coaching staff changes,” which could also include assistants.
His successor, Bruce Arena, was hired in December. Contract figures were not disclosed.
Even with the bonus, Ellis earned less than Klinsmann’s top assistant, Andi Herzog, who made $393,000 in base salary and $426,000 overall in 2015-16. Herzog left the program when Klinsmann was dismissed.
Members of the U.S. women’s team made $126,000 in base salary (which encompasses service to the national team as well as to the National Women’s Soccer League) and received $99,450 in World Cup bonuses for a total of $225,450.
The previous year, the U.S. men’s World Cup players collected much larger bonuses — Clint Dempsey, for instance, claimed $382,000 — but the men’s tournament generates substantially more revenue than the women’s competition. That money is subsequently passed along to participating federations by FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.
The 2015 women’s champion (United States) received $2 million, while the 2014 men’s winner (Germany) got $35 million. For advancing to the knockout stage, the U.S. men earned $9 million. Much of that money is distributed among the players. The USSF has been pushing FIFA to increase women’s earnings in future World Cups.
In general, the U.S. men and women have different salary structures: The men have contracts with individual pro teams and are compensated by the USSF for national team work only, while most of the women are paid by the federation to play in the NWSL and for the national team. (An exception is Crystal Dunn, who left the NWSL for English club Chelsea this winter and receives a prorated salary for national team duty.)
Because of the Women’s World Cup and a slow year in men’s soccer, the USSF’s top-paid players in 2015-16 were all women.
This spring, the USSF and women’s players’ association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement running through 2021. In it, the women will receive base pay increases and additional benefits, including the ability to control group likeness rights for licensing.
Dan Flynn, the USSF’s chief executive, had a base salary of $585,000 and received a $110,000 bonus in 2015-16. Jay Berhalter, the chief commercial officer, earned $432,000, plus a $100,000 bonus. USSF President Sunil Gulati and the federation’s board of directors are not compensated.