Connect with us

Sporting KC

2023 Sporting KC Salaries Released

All the new signings, pay cuts and raises across the Sporting Kansas City roster, including for Russell, Salloi, Espinoza, Shelton, Fontas and more.



'You get a raise, you get a raise.' -- Daniel Salloi (probably) | Credit: Seven One Mag

It’s that time of the year again. The 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) salary data was released by the MLS Players Association (MLSPA). Before looking at the 2023 data (which is at the bottom if you want to jump straight to that), it’s useful to look at prior data points for Sporting Kansas City.

Some Caveats

The salary data always brings a lot of scrutiny, but there are a couple things worth noting. First, this does not include transfer fees. If a fee is paid for a player, it won’t show up in these numbers (hence why Gadi Kinda is a DP but is only 6th in pay). Second, there are two salary numbers: base salary and guaranteed compensation. The guaranteed number feels more accurate because it includes any pro-rated signing bonuses spread out over the life of the contract. We’ll use that number going forward.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, there are a couple roster designations that add some context to these salaries. The team has three Designated Players (DPs) and three U-22 Initiative Players. The DPs only count for $651,250 against the cap (no matter their salary or transfer fee) and the U-22 players only count for $200,000 (no matter their salary or transfer fee). Some U-22 players count for $150,000, but Sporting KC don’t have any of those.

New Signings

The first thing lots of folks look for is, ‘what are the news guys getting paid?’ Sporting KC didn’t add a ton of players in the offseason, as they brought back a vast majority of the 2022 roster, but there were a few new additions. The highest paid new player is defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja who clocks in at $1,530,000, making him the team’s third highest paid player. That firmly locks him in as a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) signing, falling between the MLS max budget charge of $651,250 and $1,651,250.

The next highest paid newcomer is left back Tim Leibold. He is making $501,050 (less than the rumored $700,000). Ironically Leibold and Radoja have both missed most of the season with injuries, so we’ll see if they start to earn those wages as 2023 rages on.

The final “high earning” newcoming is centerback Dany Rosero, who clocks in at $456,000. The remaining signings are on minimum salaries. Robert Castellanos makes the Senior Minimum of 85,444, while Stephen Afrifa, Danny Flores and Chris Rindov are all making the Reserve Minimum of 67,360.

Salary Changes

Another interesting thing to look at is who got a raise and who took a pay cut. Lots of numbers stand out, but maybe none more than Roger Espinoza, Khiry Shelton and Johnny Russell, and for very different reasons.

Roger took a big pay cut, coming back at the Senior Minimum of just $85,444 after making $300,000 in 2022. That’s after years of pay cuts for the veteran who, at one time, was a Designated Player.

As for Khiry, it looks like he got a big raise. In 2022, he made $350,000 and jumped to an astonishing $625,000. That said, back in 2021, he also made $625,000, so I sort of wonder if some funny accounting isn’t going on here. Either way, it’s far too much money for the contributions Shelton has made on the field, particularly in the last few years.

As for Russell, it looks like he took a massive pay cut from $2,000,000 to $1,000,000 this season. However, Peter Vermes explained this ‘cut’ to the KC Soccer Journal before the season, letting us know that Russell’s contract was front loaded so that he wouldn’t be a Designated Player this year, which is why Thommy is showing as a DP now.

Speaking of Thommy, his salary went from $1,306,250 to $1,656,250, pushing him over the true DP threshold (just barely). Daniel Salloi is another guy who got a raise with his new contract, going from $506,667 to $1,100,000 after he signed his new TAM deal. Tim Melia got a modest raise on his new contract from $529,167 to $637,500. And Graham Zusi took another pay cut to re-sign, coming in at $325,000 after making $450,000 last year.

The last big number that is of note is a large pay cut for Andreu Fontas. In 2022 he made $1,125,000 but he’s dropped $450,000 on his new contract. Felipe Hernandez nearly doubled his pay from $119,153 to $207,000 with his new contract and John Pulskamp did the same going from $92,216 to $173,500 on the new deal he signed last year that hit this season. Cam Duke got a decent raise from $93,000 to $140,500 but most of the other raises were in line with the standard raises built into many contracts.

Full 2023 Sporting KC Salary Data

Without delaying things further, here are the full numbers.

First NameLast NamePosition(s)Base SalaryGuaranteed Compensation

Recent Comments

KC Soccer Journal in your Inbox!

Be the first to know when news breaks, sign up to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.


Follow us on Twitter