Soccer is an incredibly lucrative sport. In a multi-billion dollar industry, players make more money than ever, while playing more games than ever.
More and more emphasis on sponsorship, investment and financial injection has been placed on the sport in recent years with bumper TV deals and multi-billion investment from rich would-be owners now part and parcel of the sport.
This all predominantly favours the players at the top level of football, as even those plying their trade outside of the world’s top 5 leagues make millions annually.
The average salary for an MLS player is just under half a million, sitting at $473,008 a year.
As the league has grown in popularity, so too have its wages, but this is nothing compared to the big leagues in Europe, and the recent Saudi Arabian conquest, which has seen players such as Neymar earn a reported $2.4 million a week.
While this is simply too much money, this huge investment has actually helped out even the smallest leagues.
In one of the only examples of trickle-down economics actually succeeding in practice, the mass investment has led to leagues boasting respectable salaries that let players make their living from Soccer.
The USL has benefited significantly from the rise in popularity of both the MLS and Soccer in general in America.
How Much Do USL Players Earn On Average?
On average, USL players make between $40,000 to $60,000 a year, which for a recently re-established second division, without promotion or relegation, in a country without an established football pyramid, is pretty incredible.
Yes, it’s not quite what MLS players earn a year, but to make close to $60,000 a year playing a sport you love is living a dream that would never have been a reality for most of these players without the massive investment in Soccer.
While a decade or two ago, many of these USL players would be forced to work second jobs to make ends meet, the establishment of the division as U.S.A’s 2nd tier in 2019, coupled with extra investment has transformed the lives of pretty much every player in the league.
As of this year just gone, the minimum wage for a USL player is $32,000. This may not seem like much, but as recently as 2022 some professional players in the league were earning less than the American minimum wage, despite playing and training full-time throughout the year.
The introduction of this minimum is a monumental step forward in the American game. Now all pro-USL players can dedicate themselves to Soccer, with playing in the American 2nd tier now a viable career path.
A wage minimum is key to developing Soccer in the US. The league has come on leaps and bounds, but it can’t rely on the likes of ageing superstars from European leagues forever.
In order to build a sustainable and potentially top-standard league, investment needs to be made at levels below the MLS to build the foundations of success.
This will help produce more of their own talent rather than paying the big bucks for older players who only have a few years left.
But, while you may scoff at $32,000 as a paltry wage for a 2nd tier player to earn, the top USL players can earn around $500,000 a year.
That’s some serious money and a clear mark of just how far Soccer in America has come for its second division to boast players that earn half a million a year.