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In the United States, soccer is far from the dominant sport, and players don't earn the large paychecks enjoyed by football, baseball and basketball players. There are, however, still several leagues offering competitive pay to players. The average player salary will depend on the particular league and the level of play, with players in large soccer-playing countries such as England earning much more than players in the U.S.
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is the premier soccer league in North America, with clubs throughout the United States and Canada. Major League Soccer players' salaries increased by 12 percent in 2011 to reach an average of $154,852 per year. The wealth is not equally distributed among players, however; the minimum salary for the league is just $33,000, while superstar English international David Beckham commands $6.5 million per year.
USL Pro League
The USL Pro League is a North American soccer league founded in 2011 as the result of the merger between two other leagues. The level of competition is less than that of Major League Soccer, and consequently the player salaries are lower. Players earn an average of $1,000 to $3,000 per month and may receive bonuses on top of that pay. The average annual salary is just $12,000 to $36,000 per year.
The first paid women's soccer league was the Women's United Soccer Association, which operated from 2001 to 2003; its players received average salaries of approximately $40,000 per year. Women's Professional Soccer launched in 2009, with its players earning $32,000 for a seven-month commitment.
The English Premier League, one of the world's top soccer leagues, boasts considerably higher salaries than those found in the United States. The league has no salary cap, leading to larger overall salaries. Premier league players earn an average of £21,000 ($33,023) a week or £1.1 million ($1.73 million) per year as of 2009.
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- Sporting News: MLS Salaries Rise 12 Percent This Season
- TSN: Beckham Earns 50 Times Average MLS Salary
- The Guardian; Fans Call for Wage Cap on Premier League's Millionaire Players; Mikey Stafford
- Time; Is Women's Pro Soccer Really Coming Back Now?; Sean Gregory
- Unprofessional Foul: An Un-American Dream Part 1
M. Scilly is a writer and editor who writes for various online publications, specializing in business and management. He has a fondness for travel and photography. In his free time he enjoys marathon training.