Over at LDSM, Soccer Mom we find that many MLS reserve players are paid just above minimum wage ($10712/year) and often have to rely on (and sometimes live with) Mom, Dad, and friends. Now minor league baseball players don’t get paid squat either – I’m not singling out the MLS for unique scorn. They’re a struggling league financially as more teams work to get new venues, fans, etc. But the article in the DailyBreeze really brings home how bad it can get. Having to grab free Gatorade’s in a shoebox to take home?
I think what puzzled me the most was how teams are getting creative to provide subsidized housing, when league rules prohibit it. By having a staffer live in the house, they can make it ‘legit’.
League rules on assisting developmental players are murky at best.
"We don’t allow our teams to spend money on an apartment complex for developmental players," Gazidis said. "Having said that, our clubs do assist with housing one way or another."
Chivas USA lets players live in a four-bedroom house in Harbor City. Drew Helm lived there for free earlier this summer and Lawson Vaughn wouldn’t say if he gets free rent, but confirmed the team does help him out.
The team pays for rent and utilities because team controller Louis Lipson lives there as part of his compensation package. Players are also allowed to stay there, although those stays are supposed to be temporary until they can find more permanent housing. A team official confirmed that occasionally players do stay longer than the league would prefer.
No rent had to help Helm, considering his $11,700 contract qualifies him for food stamps.
Why the heck not? Housing can be done fairly cheap (think freshmen student dorms) Not lush living, but at least you give them a place to live. Sure – set some threshold in terms of the salary level you earn and qualifying to live there. You can’t live in L.A. on $11,700 a year unless you live with like 8 people. Why teams can’t build a dozen rooms in a dorm setup for team members on the reserve – makes no sense. Link the # of rooms to the cost of living in the area or something. I don’t know. Providing housing would be cheaper for teams than paying the players more which during these fledgling times is important.
Being an up and coming professional player who isn’t drafted is no picnic in most sports. You pay your dues, etc. But they should be paid a livable wage and if teams can do a little bit here and there to help them, the league should let them.