The recent promotion of Boston Breakers goalkeeper Ashley Phillips from a developmental player to a spot on the full roster of 18 brought about some great confusion as to what exactly a developmental player is. Similarly to Major League Soccer, developmental player obviously make less money than those on the full roster of 18, but there are also limitations on how much a developmental player can participate.
The average WPS salary is about $32,000, but developmental players make around $20,000. In order to ensure that teams don’t take advantage of a talented player by paying her a developmental salary, such players may only participate in 10 games throughout the season. If a team wishes to use the player in more than 10 matches, she must be promoted to the full 18-player roster.
Having four developmental players per team also gives teams a round number of 22 to execute 11-vs.-11 scrimmages in practices, although developmental players are optional and rarely travel with teams since the traveling roster for road games is limited to 16 players.
What this means in the case of Phillips is that Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco plans to use her in net often throughout the season and she is currently No. 1 on the depth chart, a move that seemingly came out of nowhere. Lipsher was initially waived by the team and free to sign with any team, but she was given the option of staying on as a developmental player. She chose to stay in Boston in a lesser role than she probably expected to have for 2010. Details of whether or not contracts were restructured are unknown, but essentially Lipsher and Phillips swapped roles.
Interestingly, developmental salaries in the range of $20,000 for WPS players are not far off from the $20,100 minimum salary developmental players in Major League Soccer made last year, which just got raised to $31,250 with signing of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in March. There is a more evenly spread salary base in WPS, with some of the higher-paid players making annual salaries in the range of $40,000-$50,000, which balances out the lower developmental salaries to create a league-wide average of $32,000.
Phillips, by the way, is expected to start in Boston’s match Sunday against the Philadelphia Independence. Check out Ryan Wood’s interview with Phillips ahead of Sunday’s match.
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