The Major League Soccer Players Association made its semi-annual release of contract information for players on Tuesday, and St. Louis City SC looks to be getting its money’s worth for a team that’s fifth in MLS in points at the moment.
St. Louis City SC players’ salaries
|Name||Base salary||Annual average guaranteed compensation|
City SC has a combined salary, including bonuses, of $10,933,074, which puts it at 28th among the 29 teams in the league. The only team with a lower payroll is Montreal at $10,511,926. The highest-paying team in the league is Toronto at $25,741,930.
The league salary cap for 2023 is $5.21 million, but teams are allowed several methods to pay players above that amount. Most notably, each team can have a maximum of three designated players who can be paid over the league’s maximum salary.
City SC’s highest-paid player is goalie Roman Bürki, with a base salary of $1.5 million and an average annual guaranteed compensation, which includes things like signing bonuses, of $1,632,469. That makes Burki the highest-paid goalie in the league, at a base salary almost double that of the next highest-paid goalie, Philadelphia’s Andre Blake, who makes $775,000.
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But if Bürki is highly paid by goalie standards, he’s not so highly paid vs. the rest of the league. His base salary puts him tied for 52nd in the league, well behind Lorenzo Insigne of Toronto, who has the highest base salary at $7.5 million, and Xherdan Shaqiri of Chicago, who has the highest guaranteed compensation at $8.153 million. Only two teams pay their highest-paid player less than City SC does: San Jose and New York Red Bulls.
Salaries by MLS team
|Club||Total base salary||Total guaranteed compensation|
|NY Red Bulls||10,025,475||11,163,066|
|St. Louis City SC||9,934,508||10,933,074|
This was a conscious effort on the part of City SC sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel to not have a wide disparity in salaries and not have a player making a vastly larger sum of money than the rest of the team to develop better togetherness within the team. City SC’s median base salary of $100,000 is the lowest in the league.
Bürki makes more than City SC’s two designated players, striker Klauss and midfielder Eduard Löwen. This is because designated player expenses also include transfer terms paid to other clubs, which in Klauss’ case was a reported $3.5 million and about $1 million for Löwen. The team can pay Bürki’s salary down to the league maximum through either general or targeted allocation money, a pool of money supplied by the league. The base salary for Klauss is $1.23 million, for Löwen $1.2 million. Defender Joakim Nilsson, who has yet to play as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, is fourth at $1.1 million.
The highest-paid American player is center back Tim Parker, with a base salary of $1 million.
Some numbers show up repeatedly on the salary list. The league minimum salary is $85,444, and the reserve minimum salary, for players not on the 20-player main roster, is $67,360. That’s the amount that teenagers Miguel Perez and Caden Glover make.
City SC had four starters on Saturday in Chicago who made the league minimum or less: Hiebert, Perez, Lucas Bartlett and Célio Pompeu.
Beth O’Malley of the Post-Dispatch contributed research to this story.