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MLS Salaries Are A Perfect Snapshot of America's Wealth Inequality

It truly is America's league.

by Aaron Gordon
Jul 17 2015, 5:14pm

Always a fun day for soccer nerds when the MLS Players Union releases its annual salary data. The league paid out just shy of $160 million in total compensation, for an average salary of $282,088. But that's a misleading figure because MLS is so top-heavy. The top 10 players make a whopping 35.5 percent of the total MLS salary base.

As it happens, the top 10 MLS players constitutes a little over 1 percent of the league. As of 2010, the top 1 percent of Americans owned 35.4 percent of U.S. net worth. That's less than a percentage point difference. How about that?

This means the median MLS salary comes to $110,000, although that's still much improved from previous years due to a new collective bargaining agreement.

As you might expect, three teams spend far more than any other: NYCFC, LA Galaxy, and Toronto FC. It surprised me to see just how much of each team's salary goes towards their highest-paid player, as the graph above shows.

Also, the median salary is relatively stable across the league—right around the $100,000 mark—while the average salary fluctuates quite a bit.

Let this be just another reminder that "average" anything can be wildly misleading, and that America is dominated by the wealthy. I, for one, welcome our rich overlords.

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