Monday, March 28, 2011

Joseph will meet with MLS to discuss arrest

FOXBOROUGH — Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph hopes to avoid disciplinary action by Major League Soccer following his arrest for trespassing at the team hotel in Florida during training camp.

During a post-practice interview yesterday, Joseph also said he is hoping to be offered a new contract and hopes to finish his career with the Revolution. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Boston.Com

Kicking Back Comments: I am not interested in the arrest personally. It is a simple trespass beef and frankly boys will be boys ... even at 32. MLS seemed to have a similar take only fining him $1000 (source).

What is interesting to me are (2) aspects the article touches on.

First is that MLS has denied transfers to Joseph on a couple of occasions as detailed by the story, but yet has been denied a long term contract. Transfers are not unheard of in MLS, just take a look here. While the majority are free, there are some transfers from MLS to foreign clubs, and if for money are "undisclosed." One would figure it would be a good thing to get an MLS player playing abroad, and if they do well, bring some stature to the league.

Second is Joseph's salary. He came to the league in 2003 earning the minimum of about $34000 (source), then after a stellar year signed a four deal (2004 - 2008) worth about $60000 annually. From there he has been earning $400000 on another 4 year deal (2008-2012) and is now looking for a contract.

Lets face it folks MLS is just not on par with the other major sports now as far as salary goes. The other day I opined about how to some MLS is taking the #4 spot from the NHL in so far as popularity goes ... just take a look at these salary numbers (source).

Major League Baseball: $3,297,828 (9.3% growth since 1989, CBS Sports)
National Basketball Association: $5,000,000 (estimate, Forbes)
National Football League: $1,870,000 (estimate, USA Today)
National Hockey League: $2,400,000 (estimate; Forbes)

Major League Soccer: $173,491 (Business of Soccer)

To be sure, $173K on average is nothing to sneeze at, but the gap between the marque players (all 8 of them - only one from the US) and the rest of the bunch is staggering. Credit is due however to the MLS players union for making all of this transparent in their salary reports.
Now, one thing that gets me a bit is the discrepancy between even the MLS league minimum and a referees salary. Here are some recent MLS per match salary figures for a referee:
Level 4 = $850
Level 3 = $750
Level 2 = $650
Level 1 = $550

So even assuming a referee is in tier 4, and does a game a week and a couple of playoff matches at $1000 a piece, we are not even talking about $30000 a good $10K less than an entry level player in MLS. (By the way, NO ONE is doing that many matches in MLS)

So while I believe MLS players generally are not paid enough ... the referees are certainly a far cry from even that. Now granted, most MLS referees have "day jobs" where players obviously don't, but with the "outcry" for better refereeing ... is it worth it to MLS to make more referees "professional" as a couple are currently today? Will we soon see a MLS referee union to negotiate for such things as the players currently have?

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