The Major League Soccer players union released its list of player salaries this week. Unfortunately, the figures were updated as of March 31, so the guys, like TFC's Laurent Robert, who signed after Monday aren't listed.
But there's still plenty of interesting info available.
Around here, a lot of the off-season talk was about depth, and how you acquire it. I know a lot of teams feel constrained by the salary cap, and a lot of critics of the league abhor MLS's sub-CFL minimum salaries ($33K for a senior team member).
It might (but shouldn't) surprise you to know that I've thought long and hard about these things, and eventually it occurred to me that the teams with the most depth are the ones that can get the most out of the guys making next to no money. When you've got just over two million bucks to spread amongst roughly 24 guys, only so many players can make six figures. And when those guys get hurt or leave for international matches, the guys replacing them often make significantly less than the guys in the press box.
Granted, it's almost a given that a dramatic dropoff in quality follows the dropoff in salary, but some teams have figured out how to squeeze more production from less money.
Think about it this way.
Last Saturday in Columbus Adam Moffat gave the crew the only goal they would need. He makes all of $17,700 per year, which is less than minimum wage in Ontario (based on a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year).
In New England's 3-0 win over Houston, the final goal came from a Gambian teenager named Sainey Nyassi, who also makes $17,700. And this wasn't a scrub scoring in garbage time. Nyassi and his minuscule salary started that game.
Now, when is the last time a TFC player scored a goal for that little money?
Lowest paid player to score last season was Kevin Goldthwaite, who made a little over $30,000.
I'm not saying TFC's mismanaging their salary cap. I'm just saying there's more than one way to find success in this league. And while I'm as curious as TFC fans are eager to see what Laurent Robert will produce for the money TFC will pay him (safe bet that it's a lot more than $33,000), other teams are showing that there's plenty of value at the bottom of the pay scale if you look hard enough for it.
Numbers Game II
Take another look at Laurent Robert's official TFC bio. Note this set of numbers.
Weight: 132 pounds
I didn't bring my tape measure to practice yesterday, but I stood next to the man in the post-practice media scrum and I'm pretty sure he's at least two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. In fact, when I first saw him at practice Tuesday I was tempted to describe him as "kinda tall." Then I get a press release telling me that at 5-foot-8 he's "kinda short."
I guess people understate their size to seem less intimidating on paper and maybe fool opponents into underestimating them. In the UFC, for example, you'll sometimes see middleweight champ Anderson Silva listed at 5-foot-10 in the tale-of-the-tape, only to tower over "taller" opponents when they meet at centre ring. And last summer at the Under-20 World Cup, a look at the advertised heights on team Zambia's roster made you wonder if they were a team of soccer players or jockeys.
And now we have TFC, telling us that their newest player is just a little taller than Spud Webb, and now I don't know who to believe -- the team or my lyin' eyes.
Numbers Game III
Looks like Andrea Lombardo's wearing number 19 these days. At least he was during Thursday's practice. If you're into rumours and conspiracy theories, you could hypothesize that he switched numbers to free up number 20 for an incoming player, and that another fairly big name player is on the way.
If you're into that kind of thing, that is.
I definitely am not.
But if you are, feel free to start speculating now....
-- Morgan Campbell