The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all use a salary cap with varying degrees of flexibility. (The NBA’s salary cap is currently $99.1 million which a sliding “luxury tax” that creates financial penalties for violating it.)

These ceilings are elevated enough for the NBA’s Steph Curry to earn $34,682,500 in salary, MLB’s Mike Trout $34,083,000, the NFL’s Matt Ryan $30 million and the NHL’s Jonathan Toews $13,800,000.

By creating a salary cap, the MLS behaves like those other leagues.

Except those leagues are Bentleys and MLS is a bicycle with a missing seat and a flat tire: Their salary cap is $4,035,000 for the top 20 players on the senior roster.

Over in Europe, Neymar has a salary of roughly $44 million.

Major League Soccer’s cap is decidedly flexible, but it’s hard to disagree with Szymanski’s assertion that current salary restrictions are “keeping MLS at an uncompetitive level in international markets.” After all, the current limit offers barely enough to sign Neymar’s personal assistant, much less the actual Neymar.

It’s worth remembering that the defining event in American soccer remains a decision to spend money wildly, with (for a time) very happy returns:

American Soccer Doesn’t Have to Be Second Class


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