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Nearly a Third of MLS Players Scrape By
Kansas City Star, May 29th, 2007 3:30PM
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Peter Grathoff of the Kansas City Star takes another close look at the great divide in MLS player salaries. He tells the story of Kansas City Wizards midfielder Jack Jewsbury-he's having a great season by the way-who used to take home $380 every two weeks as a so-called developmental player. As Grathoff points out, "they have the same responsibilities and duties as senior roster members, but their salary is thousands less than the $30,000 league minimum and about 500 times lower than what the LA Galaxy's David Beckham will make this season, $6.5 million."

Jewsbury's horizons have expanded a little since then, of course-but with great emphasis on "a little." Now a starting player with the senior squad, Jewsbury makes $50,000 a year. MLS calls him one of the developmental program's success stories. Okay, but $13,000-$18,000 a year simply isn't enough money to live. From the point of view of the MLS Players Union, "it's ludicrous that a professional player should need financial help," as Jewsbury did when he was a developmental player.

As Bob Foose, the union's executive director, says, the league has created a system of "ridiculously low-paid labor." He says: "those developmental players have the same obligations as every other player on the team, but they're paid an embarrassingly low salary." Fully 30 percent of the league's players are paid developmental player salaries.

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