May 16, 2024 - Sports

Charlotte FC's highest-paid players

Charlotte FC players celebrate at Bank of America Stadium in Uptown after a win.

Charlotte FC defenders Jere Uronen (left) and Nathan Byrne (center) and goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina (far right) are among the club's top 10 highest-paid players. Photo: David Jensen/Getty Images

Charlotte FC is spending more on its roster this season. But the Major League Soccer team still ranks near the bottom of the league for spending, according to data from the MLS Players Association salary guide.

Why it matters: Spending a lot of money on players doesn't always equate to wins, unless you're Inter Miami, which currently leads the Eastern Conference.

State of play: The MLSPA released its spring-summer salary guide Thursday, which includes a player's base salary and guaranteed compensation as of April 25.

Bar chart showing how Liel Abada, Karol Świderski, Brecht Dejaegere and Enzo Copetti are the highest-paid Charlotte FC players, each with an annualized average guaranteed compensation of over $1 million.
Data: MLS Players Association; Note: Guaranteed compensation includes a player's base salary, agent's fees, and all signing, marketing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player's contract, including option years; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

By the numbers: Charlotte FC ranks 25th out of MLS's 29 clubs for guaranteed compensation.

  • The club's total base salary is $13.4 million and $14.5 million for guaranteed compensation, up from $10.8 million base salary and $11.7 million during the club's inaugural season in 2022.
  • Forward Liel Abada, a young designated player (meaning he isn't subject to the league's standard salary cap rules) is Charlotte FC's highest-paid player ever at $2.3 million base salary and $2.45 million guaranteed compensation.

The intrigue: Charlotte's second highest-paid player, striker Karol Świderski, is on loan in Italy. He has a $2.2 million base salary and $2.26 million guaranteed compensation. He was previously Charlotte's highest-paid player.

  • Striker Enzo Copetti, who has scored one goal this season, has departed the club. Copetti has a $1 million base salary and $1.14 million guaranteed compensation.
  • Copetti is the third Charlotte DP to leave this year, joining Świderski and Kamil Jozwiak.

Between the lines: Charlotte's leading scorer, forward Patrick Agyemang, selected in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, makes $71,401 (his base salary and guaranteed compensation are the same).

The big picture: Charlotte's in the midst of its third season. As we previously reported, the club's intent isn't to spend a lot of money on DPs, but rather to build things slowly.

Zoom out: MLS's highest-paid player is Inter Miami star forward Lionel Messi with a $12 million base salary and $20.45 million guaranteed compensation.

  • Inter Miami also has the most expensive roster: $30.9 million total base salary and $41.7 million guaranteed compensation.

What's next: Charlotte FC (6-5-2, 5th in the East) plays LA Galaxy at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, May 18, at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $31.

Table showing MLS teams' total guaranteed compensation as an annualized average for the 2024 season. Inter Miami has the highest total at $41.7 million, followed by Toronto FC at $31.4 million and Chicago Fire at $25.1 million.
Data: MLS Players Association; Note: Guaranteed compensation includes a player's base salary, agent's fees, and all signing, marketing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player's contract, including option years; Table: Axios Visuals

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include that Copetti has officially departed the club.

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