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Collective Thoughts

It's not the most exciting stuff in the world, but after reviewing the first MLS collective bargaining agreement between the players and management, here are some highlights:

-- The deal went into effect on Dec. 1, 2004 and does not expire until Jan. 31, 2010, so any complaints from the players will have to wait.

-- Players receive $750 for an appearance on behalf of a national league sponsor, $250 for a local affiliate.

-- Players are required to work one day per year at a soccer camp endorsed by the team or league without compensation. Anything else is grounds for compensation.

-- The minimum salary for a senior roster player is:
2005-06: 28,000
2007: 30,000
2008: 33,000
2009: 34,000

-- The MONTHLY pay for a low-level developmental player is:
2005-06: 975
2007-08: 1,075
2009: 1,175

-- The MONTHLY pay for a upper-level developmental player is:
2005-06: 1,375
2007-08: 1,475
2009: 1,575

-- A player earning between 30,000 and 55,000 in 2007 will earn a $1,000 bonus after July 15

-- The MLS championshp team receives a $165,000 bonus to divide among players. The runner-up gets 60,000, the regular season conference champion(s) take 31,000 (not sure if that is only for the overall reg season winner or both conference champions)
-- Every other playoff team receives 15,000

-- If an MLS team receives up to 200,000 in prize money in a USSF, CONCACAF or FIFA sponsored tournament, the players will get 50 percent of it; if the prize money is more than 200,000, the players receive 50 percent of the first 200K and 30 percent of the amount over 200K

-- MLS's 401K contributions are 2.5 percent of the player's salary in 2007, 2.75 in 08, 3.0 in 09

-- On road trips, the players receive the following per diem for food:
2004: $41
2005: 43
2006: 44
2007: 45
2008: 47
2009: 50

-- Each player receives 4 complimentary game tickets for home matches, 2 for away matches

-- Players are guaranteed six weeks' vacation per year during the offseason

-- A team retains a drafted player's MLS rights until Dec. 31 of the following year (so barring a trade, a player chosen in Jan. 2007 is stuck with that club until Dec. 08)

-- Players are prohibited from participating in other sports that may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a soccer player: football, boxing, wrestling, motorcycling, moped-riding, auto racing, skydiving, inline skating, downhill skiing, mountain biking, bike racing, rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking and hang-gliding. There are, of course, exceptions and casual family activities do not apply.

read on...

-- From the beginning of the MLS regular season throught Dec. 31, teams may not play more than 48 friendlies/exhibtions (in which admission is charged), league games and playoffs. U.S. Open Cup and other major tournaments are exempt.

-- Players earning less than 60K receive an automatic 5 percent pay raise each year

-- Medical insurance includes a $250 deductible for individuals, $500 for families; dental has no deductible

-- Each player receives a $75,000 life insurance policy, 50,000 for spouses and 10,000 per child

-- Long-term disability is 60 percent of player's salary

-- MLS is required to name 32 players as all-stars each year (regardless of how many are needed for the game) for purposes of bonuses and base salary adjustments. Even if no all-star game is held, 32 will still be identified. The Best XI is also mandatory to determine bonuses, etc.

I hope that provides a little insight into the collective bargaining agreement and where players stand. From the players' standpoint, it is not perfect but it is a start for a young league. And it's gotta be a lot better than the situation between 1996 and 2004, right?

By Steve Goff  |  February 19, 2007; 9:14 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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