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Every year around this time is when the tulips in Central Park start to fade, the peonies start to bloom, and the Major League Soccer Player’s Association release the data drop of all player salaries as of the start of the season. As always, we tabulate New York City FC’s official payroll for you: Here are the 2023 NYCFC player salaries.
First, some disclaimers. We list both the base salary and the total compensation (technical term: Annual Average Guaranteed Compensation), is a best-guess that includes signing bonuses and other guaranteed payments averaged over the term of the contract. It does not include performance bonuse because, in the words of the MLSPA, “there is no guarantee that the player will hit those bonuses.”
Also, we list all of the individuals named on the NYCFC payroll. That includes players who are currently on loan, or who are signed to the First Team but often play for NYCFC II in MLS NEXT Pro.
We can only report what they reveal. Now, let’s get to the numbers.
NYCFC 2023 Player Salaries
|Name||Position||Base Compensation||Total Compensation|
1. NYCFC is a mid-table club
At least when it comes to payroll: The $15.5 million NYCFC will pay out this year places them at #14 out of the 29-team league. That $15.5 million is fully $1 million lower than New York City ‘s payroll in 2022, when the team was stacked with well-paid veterans. For example, the roster spot once occupied Alexander Callens ($814,000) is now taken by Tony Alfaro ($120,000).
In addition, more than $3 million of the 2023 payroll is distributed to players who are out on loan: Taty Castellanos ($1.2 million) is with Girona FC, take-my-wife-please Alexandru Mitriță ($1.3 million), is with Al-Raed (for now), Niolás Acevedo ($274,000) is with Esporte Clube de Bahia, and Thiago ($219,000) is with Athletico Paranaense. Subtract those and NYCFC’s payroll falls to an extremely frugal $12.5 million.
That puts New York City in the Minnesota United and Vancouver Whitecaps zone — working class Philadelphia Union are big spenders by comparison. That said, every team has loaned-out players who count on these payrolls, so it’s hard to say where on this list NYCFC actually lands.
Via the Athletic
2. Thiago Martins is the highest-paid defender in MLS
Thiago Martins isn’t just NYCFC’s highest-paid player with a guaranteed compensation of more than $2.1 million, he has the highest salary of any defender in the league. His closest competition is Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman, who makes a little more than $2 million. But Thiago Martins doesn’t come close to cracking the Top 10 for MLS — his salary puts him at #31, well behind league leaders such as Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri ($8.2 million), Toronto FC’s Lorenzo Insigne ($7.5 million), and LA Galaxy’s Chicharito ($7.4 million)
3. Santiago Rodríguez James Sands doubled their salaries
Santiago Rodríguez isn’t just NYCFC’s newest Designated Player, he’s their newest millionaire: The midfielder now makes $1.3 million, more than twice the $612,500 he pulled in last year. James Sands now makes more than $1 million, more than double the $493,956 he earned last year. Tayvon Gray also more than doubled his salary — he went fro $144,788 in 2022 to $350,000 this year.
4. Matías Pellegrini will make more than $1.1 million
NYCFC claimed attacking midfielder Matías Pellegrini off waivers twice in the past year, but his salary makes him one of the best-paid players on the roster. Among active players, only Thiago Martins ($2.1 million), Rodríguez ($1.3 million), and Talles Magno ($1.2 million) make more.
5. Maxime Chanot is one of the biggest bargains in MLS
Veteran center-back Maxime Chanot will make just $483,000 this year, well under the league average of $530,262 — and significantly less than the $700,000 he made in 2022. In case you’re wondering, that’s a 31% pay cut.
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6. Matt Freese makes more than Luis Barraza
New signing Matt Freese will make $180,000 this year. That’s about right for a backup goalkeeper in MLS, and it’s 31.4% more than the $137,000 he made last year at Philadelphia Union. But it’s more than the $152,688 salary of starting keeper Luis Barraza.
7. Sean Johnson makes $133,013 more at Toronto
Can you put a price on loyalty? When former NYCFC captain Sean Johnson left New York City for Toronto FC, local fans were left to speculate why he he made the move. Certainly money was thought to be a factor. After all, Toronto have consistently been one of the highest-spending clubs since joining the league in 2007. We now know that Johnson’s guaranteed salary jumped from $550,000 in 2022 with New York City to $683,013 this year with Toronto.
That’s good enough to make Johnson the fourth-highest paid goalkeeper in MLS, per the Athletic. He now trails only Roman Bürki of St. Louis City ($1.6 million), Pedro Gallese of Orlando City ($937,333), and Andre Blake of Philadelphia Union ($894,375).
Hope it’s worth it, Sean.