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2022 Sporting KC Salaries Released

All the new signings get their numbers released and some updates on some re-signed players.

MLS: US Open Cup-FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of the year again. The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) released their annual salary data. It includes all the new player signings and new contracts signed (with the exclusion of Julian Vazquez who signed today).

A good comparison point is to look at prior years, so let’s make that easy:

What are the New Guys Making?

Sporting Kansas City swung big under the U-22 Initiative and made some large moves, that include transfer fees, for Logan Ndenbe, Marinos Tzionis and Robert Voloder. And their compensation lines up with the significant investment the team made. Tzionis leads the way among the U-22 signings, coming in at the max of $612,500. He’s followed by Voloder at $427,860 and Ndenbe at $396,125.

Those numbers may be surprising but they are all highly touted prospects who are young and full of potential. If they live up to that potential they could be sold on for massive fees or be decade long starters if they choose to stay in Kansas City.

Other new, first time known salaries, include 2022 loanee Nikola Vujnovic, who comes in at $481,705, defensive midfielder Uri Rosell at $475,000, veteran left back Ben Sweat at $200,000 and probably the steal of the offseason in Kortne Ford at $151,667.

Pay Raises

The biggest other number that jumps out is big in more ways than one is Johnny Russell receiving a substantial raise up to $2 million. What is significant about that raise, other than the extra $400,000 Russell is earning, is it makes him a true Designated Player. That means, his salary can’t be bought down with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

I did a deep dive on the 2022 roster, including how one of the three DPs (Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Russell) have to be on a TAM level deal to be able to sign three U-22 guys. Apparently, either (a) all the reported transfer fees on Kinda are way off or (b) Peter Vermes worked some bookkeeping magic between Kinda’s initial loan and eventual purchase. I’m not sure how it all works, but Russell cannot be bought down and Gadi Kinda is that player on this roster.

In terms of other raises, lots of standard year-to-year bumps. Also, it appears Pulskamp got about a $30,000 bump in the first year of his new contract he signed.

Pay Cuts

As expected, Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza came back at a number more palatable to their expected level of contribution. Espinoza dipped to $300,000 from $500,000 last year and Zusi is down to $450,000 from $713,333.

Those both represent significant pay cuts for guys close to the end of their career. It shows intelligence from both Vermes to not overpay for aging veterans and a sense of being a ‘team player’ from Espinoza and Zusi, both of whom could have probably gotten more elsewhere but likely took a hometown discount.

Non-Roster Players

[Update: I added this section on 5/18/22, as I originally missed it.]

Two players of note won’t be found below because they are listed as assigned to MLS versus a team. Tyler Freeman and Grayson Barber. They were released earlier this year, but were on guaranteed deals so they are still getting paid. Freeman has resurfaced with Loudoun United (D.C. United) and Barber is still unattached as far as I’m aware as of this writing.

Freeman is making $112,500 and Barber is making $87,750. Not bad considering that’s being paid not to play. Then again, their future earning possibilities are much higher in MLS than in lower division soccer.

All the numbers above are represented by the guaranteed compensation number, which includes a number of incentives and bonuses pro-rated over the life of the contract.

Here is the full salary data for your perusal.

2022 Sporting KC Salaries

First Name Last Name Position(s) Base Salary Guaranteed Compensation
First Name Last Name Position(s) Base Salary Guaranteed Compensation
Alan Pulido F $2,200,000.00 $2,200,000.00
Johnny Russell F $2,000,000.00 $2,000,000.00
Andreu Fontas D $1,125,000.00 $1,125,000.00
Nicolas Isimat-Mirin D $950,000.00 $1,028,124.00
Gadi Kinda M $850,000.00 $918,000.00
Remi Walter M $800,000.00 $800,000.00
Marinos Tzionis F-M $612,500.00 $612,500.00
Tim Melia GK $525,000.00 $529,167.00
Daniel Salloi F $450,000.00 $506,667.00
Nikola Vujnovic F $428,580.00 $481,705.00
Oriol Rosell M $475,000.00 $475,000.00
Graham Zusi D $450,000.00 $450,000.00
Robert Voloder D $400,000.00 $427,860.00
Logan Ndenbe D $350,000.00 $396,125.00
Khiry Shelton F $350,000.00 $350,000.00
Roger Espinoza M $300,000.00 $300,000.00
Ben Sweat D $200,000.00 $200,000.00
Kortne Ford D $150,000.00 $151,667.00
Kendall McIntosh GK $120,000.00 $120,000.00
Cameron Duke M $90,000.00 $93,000.00
John Pulskamp GK $89,716.00 $92,216.00
Felipe Hernandez M $85,444.00 $85,444.00
Kaveh Rad D $84,000.00 $84,000.00
Kayden Pierre D $65,500.00 $70,600.00
Osvaldo Cisneros F $65,500.00 $68,500.00
Jacob Davis M $65,500.00 $65,500.00