Report reveals top-paid US Soccer employees

The Equalizer Staff February 1, 2014 114

Alex Morgan was U.S. Soccer's top-paid player — male or female — between April 2012 and March 2013, according to a report. (Photo Copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

According to tax records obtained by the Washington Post’s Steve Goff: Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Christie Rampone were the three highest-paid players on the United States women’s national team or men’s national team from April 2012-March 2013.

The financial report, according to Goff, is required to reveal the 10 highest-paid employees within U.S. Soccer, the best-paid of which is U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who earned $2.515 million in that period. The salaries of the three players listed are pretty similar, and, as Goff notes, it’s reasonable to assume that several of the other U.S. regulars are not far behind.

Morgan: $282,564

Sauerbrunn: $274,871

Rampone: $272,913

Keep in mind the fiscal year involved the London Olympics, where the U.S. women won a third-straight gold medal, earning bonuses.

According to a June 2013 report by Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, Morgan’s annual income is over $1 million, “the vast majority of it coming from endorsements with brands such as Nike, Panasonic, AT&T and Coca-Cola.” That’s pre-ChapStick endorsement, too.

Pia Sundhage earned $322,000 before stepping down in September 2012. Tom Sermanni had only just begun coaching the U.S. by the end of the tax period, and thus is not on the list.

More detailed financial information on U.S. Soccer can be found here.

  • Rdalford

    A little detail concerning what is known about compensation structure (base plus bonus available etc) and reminder concerning number and type (friendly vs OG etc) of games during this April 2012 to March 2013 period would be helpful so these figures could be understood in context. Article without background/context only invites uninformed speculation.

    • Bob

      Uninformed speculation. That’s a favorite for certain individuals who frequent EQ.

      • Guest

        Is this why OL got rid of Rapinoe? /jk

    • kernel_thai

      Most of what is known is unfortunately from the 2006 contract article so even if included is just speculation six years later. Figure the top 18 players on the pay list correspond to the 18 members of the Olympic Roster as most of bonus money in that time frame went to them.

    • nwslfan

      I think the 2012 compensation was governed by the prior CBA. I think a new CBA for the women is in place now. I have searched internet, but not found text of the elusive CBA.

      • nwslfan

        PS- the comments written on current CBA iare it is more favorable to the players, so player compensation should rise, even in down years in the cycle.

  • guest

    Get ready. Trolls about to troll.

    • Steglitz49

      Trollo-lollo-lol!?!

  • Sydonia

    It must feel strange playing on Thorns for $6k a season (Shim) when teammate Morgan is getting millions.

    • guest

      That’s sports for ya. It’s a winner-takes-all game. Simple economics, really.

    • Guest

      Shim can’t do what Morgan does no more than Pargo do what Lebron does. Any sport doesn’t go at a flat rate. The people paying Morgan millions isn’t USSF anyway. It’s endorsements which involves time and work too. If Shim is thinking at all it is that it is nice that the sport has grown enough women are able to make a little money at all if they reach the top of their field like Morgan has. That wasn’t always the case.

    • Lorehead

      Well, “over $1 million.”

    • wosofan

      Shim was undrafted last year. Presumably, she would sign for more than $6K this year. And Morgan’s salary isn’t about the NWSL so much, it’s based on National Team stuff, and mostly, commercial endorsements — you know, Nike, Coca-Cola, other small companies like that.

    • STT

      It’s not *as* strange if you remember that very, very little of Morgan’s yearly income comes from her NWSL allocation salary, which is supposedly around $30k (at least that’s what I’ve seen quoted for US allocated players).

      Still, it’s an awkward situation for sure, but I think the US does it better (highly compensated players divided evenly across the league) than somewhere like France (Lyon on PSG get millions from their owners while all the other clubs are essentially amateur).

      • Steglitz49

        Indeed. Ladies’ football in Europe is at a watershed and soon no team outside he wealthy men’s leagues will get even to the QFs of the Champions League. It will be the usual suspects at that round.

      • kernel_thai

        It’s the same in most sports tho. Each year in baseball some rookie making the league minimum (a paltry $480K) puts up great numbers while a veteran sitting on a $60 million contract coasts along. Hopefully Shims fine season earned her a raise. And that’s the real problem with the tight cap. Portland seems to be dropping contracts to free up money to improve the team but will that leave money to reward players? Maybe the cap should have been designed with a yearly escalator.

    • catskinner

      Well Shim could try the body paint/ body issue route.

      • guest

        Only morons keep bringing this issue up… Bravo you win that award..

        • Steglitz49

          I agree with CatSkinner here. At least one US player has successfully gone down the body paint route while others have used startegically placed balls, so the option exists. It is not for everyone and some lady sportspersons have famously declined generous offers to be folded out. Nevertheless, it is an option that some USNT players have availed themselves of. Why on earth they have done so, is their pigeon. Cash most likely.

          • ctsmith73

            One said she’d have to ask her parents when quizzed during an interview whether she’d pose nude. Bravo.

          • Steglitz49

            Why not simply decline any offer?

          • ctsmith73

            Seemed more of an expert redirection of the meat-headed interviewers’ intrigue. It humanized her and they were somewhat baffled by that prospect. The fact that she is pushing 30 only added to their befuddlement. Bra-vo.

        • catskinner

          Thank you! I’d like to thank all those who helped me to be comfortable with nudity and uncomfortable issues. Further I’d like to invite all those so called woso fans to attend games at any level rather than just following specific player(s) or teams.

    • guest

      LOL,indeed.

    • guest

      Why? You act as though Morgan hasn’t earned the money she is making.. She has and then some…All these women are underpaid compared to their male counterparts.

      • Steglitz49

        It depends. In the US yes; most other parts of the world, not proven unfortunately.

    • Boston Red

      Not unlike when Beckham started playing for the Galaxy and some of his teammates were making peanuts. I’m sure there are issues, but Morgan probably employs her teammates in her camps and the like, so there can be an advantage to being on her good side. Plus Morgan was smart not to take the fancy place the team offered and instead shared an apartment.

  • newsouth

    i don’t really care for the financials. we already know the gig is good. the thing i see is, jurgen getting 2.5M. i think for 1/10th they would get the same from a top college coach. you see with the men, the top athletes in the usa play football basketball and even track and field. on the men’s side he has 2nd and 3rd tier american athletes. you have to change the culture at the youth levels in america. what can he do with fixed sources and talent? they will still be pressed to get out of group. i take that other 2M plus bonus money and spread it across the program.

    • Nick

      Mostly I agree, but there are special coaches that can lift a team to success, like Lombardi in the NFL.

      • guest

        US men are still going to crash out of the world cup in the group stages this summer. They could quite possibly not even earn a single point.

        • Silver Frost

          They got extremely unlucky in their group of death. It’s like FIFA wanted to teach Klinsman a lesson.

          • kernel_thai

            I find Klinsmann’s contract amusing. If u r willing to pay the man $2.5 million a year because u r sure he can get u into the WC, why would u then structure a $500K bonus for doing just that? The bonus plan should have started when he got them out of the group.

          • Greg

            Because Klinsmann’s agent must be good. And b/c the U.S./Sunil Gulati was desperate for Klinsmann to be the coach for at least a few years before he became coach.

          • kernel_thai

            desperate is the perfect word for it.

          • Boston Red

            It’s one of those things you see in contracts. You include easy to reach milestones as sort of expected, but with a “penalty” for not reaching them. Really, JK is paid $3M in a WCQ year, but with a $500k penalty if they don’t qualify.

  • Why Always Me

    Weird. I would’ve thought Wambach and Hope would’ve been up there with Morgan. Huh. Rampone I can see, I guess, but Becky Sauerbrunn? Eh, whatever, good for them.

    • kernel_thai

      It is very likely that all of the Olympic roster players r within a few thousand of each other right behind Morgan. The only difference being if they missed a couple friendlies with an injury.

      • Boston Red

        There may also be some other payments for appearances and the like that make a difference for some players, but it does show why Pia was perhaps reluctant to bring in too many new players — she had to keep to a budget.

        • Steglitz49

          As far as I can tell in her 5 years at the helm, Pia brought in 4 new players and tested some more. Given the NT’s record under her, it is difficult to see what extra players were needed.

          The US emphasize the NT over the clubs. Most, if not all, other NTs don’t. WC-15 is crunch time.

  • wosofan

    You can certainly see the financial incentive to make a WC or Olympic roster, and to win those tournaments. Because then you get the bonuses, the Victory Tour, and “Cha-Ching.” Good for them. No surprise why veterans would be inclined to stick around for one more WC and Olympics — the glory *and* the big salary.

    • newsouth

      i made a post that dunn would probably earn over 2M during her NT w/out sponsor money and someone on here laughed it. really?

      • Steglitz49

        Only in the world cup and olympics does the USNT play for big trophies. Thus, if Ms Dunn’s NT career lasts 10 years she might break the 2M mark.

        • newsouth

          I’m aware of that but their salaries don’t fall off the edge of the world in non-OG and WC years. Tasha Kai said several years ago, she got 74,000 per 9 friendlies. They have a better deal now, and they played 16 friendlies this year. Now add in the 24-30k for the NWSL. That’s not a salary, it’s a living allowance for NT players. Plus they get $1000 per international win bonus. They have other peaks like Rampone gets allowances for her kids traveling with her. Brunn who isn’t even a starter probably earns 150k in off years. Based on her salary, I’d say they have a scale for seniority and other factors. Now. look at Brazil. They earn $700 USD per month. The Canadian women must get peanuts based on their recent grumblings. People talk about Franch beating out Loyden. Why wouldn’t Loyden tells jokes and give rub downs to keep Solo happy?

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken though you make the NT sound like a house of ill repute.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily and forsooth. Seeing that it is a rare honor to represent your country, why pay them so much? Let them earn their lioness’s share through their clubs and give the club a bonus when a player is selected to the NT.

      • Boston Red

        The players have formed a union and negotiated for most of these benefits. The fact that the Victory Tour was very successful compared to 2008 means they were paid much better than expected. In a way, they earned it by drawing better crowds.

        • Steglitz49

          The elect few get rich; the remainders live in penjury. Oth a strong stimulus to win in 2015.

  • Jigsawwill

    They are not suffering that’s for sure.

  • gerd karl

    sauerbrunn-274 871 dollar hahahahahaqhahahahahahahaah its a joke
    rampone- 272 913 dollar hahahahahahahahahahahaah its a greater joke
    the washington post is not the best paper

    lena goeßling – 250 000 euro – 338 000 dollar this is good

    pia sundhage – 322 000 dollar, very little money

    silvia neid – 700 000 euro= 944 144 dollar, http://www.focus.de, http://www.fr-online.de, this is big money

    • Steglitz49

      Very few women players in Europe earn even $150 000. Most earn nothing or almost nothing. The big money seems to be in the German and French leagues, maybe a bit in the English now. I doubt if anyone in the Swedish league earns $75 000.

      • gerd karl

        lira alushi 150 000 euro- 202 347 dollar
        lena goeßling 250 000 euro – 338 000 dollar this is no low money

        young player in the nwsl become 6000 or nothing, this is no pro league, this is slave league.

        • Steglitz49

          As TomF points out elsewhere, soccer (any sport for that matter) is a route in the USA to fully or partly paid higher education for girls. Stanford (O’Hara, Press) and Berkeley (Morgan) are among the worlds very best universities while Duke, UNC and Notre Dame are jolly good also. The cost to go to these colleges is high ca $50 000 per year.

          • gerd karl

            a american sport stupendium is a joke

            a good player becomes always a graduation

            no matter how bad his notes are.

          • Steglitz49

            A full scholarship at the top institutions is worth 40-50 000€ a year. Each year for 4 years. Not all colleges grant full scholarships for soccer, but even if “all” you get is 20k€ per year it is an awful lot of money to most people (80k€ during your studies).

          • gerd karl

            this is not a studium, this is sport and she becomes a graduation for nohting

            she must no learn.

        • thankful

          Exceptions proving the rule. Thanks for making the point.

      • guest

        MARTA

        • gerd karl

          who is marta ?

          • GJANGO

            THE BEST PLAYER IN WOMEN’S SOCCER HISTORY

          • gerd karl

            the best player in womens hystory is birgit prinz, world champion 2003 and 2007
            and european champion 1997,2001,2005,2009

            marta won?

          • Steglitz49

            I hate to explain the facts of life to you Karl but ladies’ football can be divided into BM and AM, that is Before Marta and After Marta. Marta truly has been something exceptional.

          • gerd karl

            marta won ?

          • GJANGO

            Yeah Prinz won all the Championship by herself. Winning a championship is team effort.Put Prinz on Marta’s Brazillian teams and they might not even get to a quarter final.What have you been smoking ?

          • gerd karl

            world championchip 2007 final germany-brasil 2-0
            birgit prinz scored the 1-0

            marta lost the penalty against nadine angerer

          • newsouth

            Hahaha.

          • gerd is german

            Do not question the castle dwelling, rich, beautiful,and humorous football and newspaper expert. Can’t you sense the superiority?

          • GJANGO

            Ok karl. Prinz for you, Marta for me,lol

    • Tom F

      your forgetting all the endorsements Alex Morgan gets, which was way over $2 million in 2013.
      I believe Steg said, Wolfsburg gave Goeslling & each of her team mates a lil Beetle wagon for winning the CL, but every US player got about a $100K bonus for winning Olympic gold
      But nothing against Lena or any gals in Europe, actually wish they would get paid better! it just seems most Europeans treat women’s soccer players as inferior athletes

      • gerd karl

        young nwsl player becomes 6000 dollar, this is inferior

        • nwslfan

          nwsl =/= ussf

          • gerd karl

            yes, nwsl is the slave league and the ussf is the slave-holder

          • nwslfan

            I think you mean the Canada Federation?

          • gerd karl

            no, i mean ussf, the slave-holder

        • Tom F

          In the US however, the most important goal for our best youth players is to get a soccer college scholarship, which can be worth well over $100K, which also translates to much higher paying jobs when these kids go into the real world. This simply isn’t provided in most European countries.
          If the women’s Bundesliga pays so well & provides such a great future, then why are top players as Bianca Schmidt & Tabea Kemme are attending Police Academy while playing pro ball?

          • gerd karl

            tabea kemme wants to be policewomen, than with 35 is stop with football playing.

          • Steglitz49

            This is such a wonderful asset to American lasses (and young men). That eponymous bear sure earned his keep while in the White House. Title IX helped also.

          • Gerd Karl`s Angry Cousin

            Well, if you want to tell me that former NWSL pros earn more money than former Bundesliga players, I`d like to see a proof.

        • kernel_thai

          Since ur quoting salaries, what does Gieger on Sindelfingen make? What about her team mate Schroder? Not that Im not happy that Goessling is doing so well…

      • Steglitz49

        I think it was VW, the “owners” of the Wolfsburg club, who gave the cars, like if Vera Wang owned a team they could all get haute couture or Estée Lauder free makeup.

        When Japan won WC-11 the JFA allegedly were not planning to give them any bonus so the Kirin brewery stepped up and gave each player about $10k (ten, not hundred). This shamed the JFA into giving something.

        There is very little money in European ladies soccer, which explains why so many of them play abroad. Soon no team from a small country will get the QF stage of the Champions League.

        • gerd karl

          steglitz49 you have no plan over european football.

        • Greg

          Does this mean the Red Bulls will all get free RB for life if they win MLS Cup haha?

          Interesting, what was the JFA planning on doing with the cash prize for winning the WC if they weren’t going to split it among the players? And what did they end up doing with it? From what you’ve said, it doesn’t sound like the players got much of it.

          The JFA is pretty awful though- still remember the Olympic stories about the men’s team flying first class no matter what, but the women’s team not getting it even if they won gold.

          • Steglitz49

            I do not remember how little the Nadeshiko got for winning the WC but the world champions have not earned much out of their achievement.

            As for them traveling coach, it was the British media who ferreted out the story and pursued it. It shamed the JFA to pay for business class back.

      • Steglitz49

        VW use the She-wolves in adverts for one of their cars. Phrases like “The champions team with the champion car” and “A winning car for a winning team”. Karl can give us the correct English.

        Attendances at women’s matches in Europe is not big. Maybe 500 on average and 2000 is a red letter day. There simply is no money.

        What is changing the game is that the wealthy men’s teams are throwing a few bones, scraps and crumbs the girls’ way. Lyon started it but another key person was John Terry who saved Chelsea Ladies from extinction. Yes, John Terry!

    • xman22702

      “The Washington Post is not the best paper.” So, what? It’s just reporting salaries.

      • gerd karl

        yes, sauerbrunn make more money as abby wambach or hope solo.
        very very funny

      • Steglitz49

        I think Karl Gerhard is confusing it with the New York Post.

        • gerd karl

          as a ex german soldier saying, the washington post is the worse newspaper in the world

          and the new york times is a very good newspaper

          • guest

            gerd karl judging US newspapers?? LOL

          • Steglitz49

            He could always post his opinion on Sports Illustrated.

          • huh?

            Soldiering being essential training for judging newspapers.

          • gerd karl

            yes, its true.
            american soldier looks comics for the instruction.

          • Guest

            There is not a german soldier alive who ever fought for anyones freedom but only the enslavement of others. American soldiers twice with the able assistance of our Russian, French, Canadian and English allies had to beat the master race until the learned their place in this world; and, I didn’t learn how to do that out of a comic book. So go sieg heil yourself buddy.

          • gerd karl

            i’m shocked
            a american soldier can read and write

          • guest

            Love to hear your views on the Israeli woman’s national soccer team

          • gerd karl

            i love the israeli women football national team
            but
            i love the palestine women football national team too.

    • Eric Bauer

      You must be the loneliest man in the world. This site is for promoting the beautiful game for women worldwide. There’s no room for your biased nonsense.

      • gerd karl

        this is true, you can not read
        the german women football is beautiful, why you have to americans always talk him badly.
        and silvia neid becomes realy 700 000 per year from dfb.

      • newsouth

        actually, what he is posting is a bit crazy but very informative for those of us not in the know. nothing wrong with gimmicks if they are played the correct way. kudos for karl for the euro information and his buddy, s49.

  • nwslfan

    delighted the women players get six figures. good on them!

    the classic joke told on non-profits is the executives are grossly overpaid, so no profit remains. Dan Flynn’s $600k salary fits in that punchline, IMO.

  • xman22702

    I’m kind of surprised about Sauerbrunn, I mean was she a starter in 2012?

    • AlexH

      I think all of the USWNT players get paid the same amount whether the start or sub. She is good enough to have made a lot of rosters and lucky enough not to have gotten injured. It’s just a guess though.

      • kernel_thai

        All that matters is game rosters not field time. Julie Johnston made the same amount for watching US v. Canada as Leroux made for scoring the winning goal. Congratz to Johnston and Dunn on what was likely their first payday.

  • nwslfan

    this is a bit off topic, but the highest paid female athletes in the world are mostly from tennis. see Forbes Mag on this annuaal topic. Tennis is the most lucrative for women bc in 2007 Venus Williams campaigned for the majors to provide equal prize money for men and women and 2 of the majors made the change. thank you Venus and for Billie Jean before her.

    • Steglitz49

      Equal prize money has also been the rule for the skiing events for many years now, though individual sponsorships vary of course.

      In figure skating and gymnastics the ladies ought to pull in ten times what the men get but I doubt if that is the case.

  • gerd karl

    please americans, according washington post have abby wambach, ali krieger, the best defender in the usa, syd leroux and many other american player 2013 deserves nothing.

    therefore, i call for a great, a very great, fundraiser.

  • Steglitz49

    Seventy experts from all continents have been involved in ranking club teams. Wolfsburg got first place ahead of Lyon, because of their victory in the Champions League,

    Portland are ranked third. Arsenal ranks four and Torres Calcio, the Italian champions, fifth.

    Then comes Potsdam ahead of seventh graded Tyresö, who in turn has a substantial point-distance down to Zürich, Liverpool Ladies and Sydney in tenth place.

    One odd observation is that Malmö (now Rosengård), who won the Swedish league ranks below Tyresö, which suggests that the Champions league trumps domestic leagues. Indeed 6 of the top 8 teams are in the QF of the Champions League!

    Another oddity is that no Japanese team seems to be in the top ranks. Eat your hearts out, world champions!

    • Tom F

      who made this list?{or can you show the link?)] The #1 team in the world right now should be Frankfurt. They’re undefeated in the current season and beat Wolfsburg and remain way ahead in the Bundesliga standings
      Arsenal only managed 3rd in last year’s WSL. At #5,the Italian team you mentioned has no foreign players and is led by the 38 year old, Panico(the Italian league’s top scorer), who looked terrible at last year’s euros.
      Did at least Kobe & the Flash make the top ten?

      • Steglitz49

        Thanks for the reminder. I forgot the link. Here it is:
        http://www.iffhs.de/the-worlds-best-woman-club/

        They seem to have a self-appointed status and are incorporated in Lausanne, where the IOC hang out, and not Zurich, where the gnomes of FIFA sip their tea.

    • Elaine

      Thanks for this. Wouldn’t it be great if these 10 teams played against one another in some kind World Club Cup tournament. Or even if the clubs from UEFA can manage a few friendlies with non-UEFA clubs would be interesting to watch. Surprised INAC was not among the top 10. On another note, Hope Solo might be pleased that she got voted 2013 Best Goalkeeper over Angerer. Also Goessling won for Best Playmaker, ahead of Abily, Marozsan, and Necib.

      • Steglitz49

        Don’t mention it. Glad to help.

        So far the only World Club tournament I know of is the MobCast Cup. Given that there is a sponsor — MobCast — I can’t imagine that FIFA will bust a gut to create another tournament, not least seeing that Japan prefers to bid for WC-23 rather than, as expected, WC-19. This gives FIFA a chance to put the WC in Europe again, possibly in France or England, so Japan will be rewarded in one way or another. Just join the MobCast cup!

        Given how the French blotted their copybook and that Ms Marozsan is more of a striker, Lena Goessling was a decent choice.

      • kernel_thai

        Exlalin how Marta, who apparently won best playmaker 2012 doesnt make the list in 2013.

        • Elaine

          KT, I’m not touching that!

        • Steglitz49

          The so-called Golden Gloves for WC-11 were awarded to Solo and not to Kaihori, in spite of the Japanese keeper’s many and varied saves. At the time Ms Kaihori probably did not care too much. Japan had won the World Cup. But, one wonders whether as the dust settled, Ayumi might not have felt a bit slighted. Japan won and the pso told its own story.

  • Scott Len Webb

    Does the writer of this article realize that he is comparing 2.5 Million to $250 thousand? The three stars on the National teams uniform, were from the woman? The woman got 2.5 million to divide amongst them. The men got I believe $36 million. The “major” money for the woman make is from endorsements, sponsorship, tournament bonuses, by winning them.