In order to maintain their tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization, U.S. Soccer is required to publicly disclose their tax information to show where they get their money and where that money goes and thus continue to not being required to pay taxes.

This is a rare annual glimpse into exactly how the money is distributed and people are typically able to pull notable points. For instance, head positions like Sunil Gulati’s presidential position and Carlos Cordeiro’s vice presidential position were unpaid but CEO Dan Flynn’s position is paid. U.S. Soccer has been rather transparent with talking about who does or doesn’t get paid but it’s this that tells us exactly how much notable people make.

One notable takeaway from this is that USWNT coach Jill Ellis, the coach who actually won a World Cup, makes far less money than USMNT coaches Jurgen Klinsmann, Bruce Arena and even men’s assistant coach Andreas Herzog.

You can take a look at the figures on U.S. Soccer’s website (click on FY 2017 Form 990) but it shows that during the timeframe of April 2016 and March 2017, Klinsmann made a total of $3,302,534 in his final year as USMNT manager. That was to be expected both in what he was rumored to be making and according to previous statements. What’s new is that Bruce Arena, who temporarily took over in the final four months of this statement, made a total of $400,000 ($100k in base compensation and $300k in bonuses. Even assistant Andreas Herzog made a total of $446,885. Compare that to Jill Ellis, who made a total of $292,151 over the year, and there seems to be a case that one isn’t getting paid as fairly as the other for their respective job performance.

This is just speculation but one reason Arena could have been paid so much for four months worth of work was because when he took the job, the USMNT were in a bad spot in World Cup qualifying and there was a realistic chance at the time they wouldn’t qualify. So taking on the job provided meaningful risk, and it was proven, that coming back to manage the USMNT would hurt Arena’s reputation and legacy. So with that, it would make some sense for U.S. Soccer to pay more money for Arena.

The Washington Post also pointed out and it is fair to point out that during this time, the USMNT participated in the Copa America Centenario and because of that, salaries could be a bit skewed based on bonuses. At the same time, because the USWNT was eliminated from the Olympic Quarterfinal, Ellis missed out on bonuses that would have been paid.

So since that’s the case, let’s go back the previous year and look at how much Ellis was paid the year the USWNT won the Women’s World Cup. With her base salary, as well as bonuses for winning the tournament and the Victory Tour that ensued as a result, Ellis made $327,332 that year which included $90,000 in bonus money. As a comparison, Herzog made $426,413 from April 2015 to March 2016 which consisted of no bonus money. So with Ellis’ base salary and bonus money, she fell almost $100k short of Herzog’s base salary.

This isn’t to constantly trash Herzog but even taking into consideration everything (sponsors, revenue, attendance, TV money, how the men’s and women’s team grew compensated) one is either getting paid too much while one is paid too little or both are true. According to the Washington Post, Ellis is due for a raise and she will make over $300k as a base salary but surely when Ellis’ next contract negotiation rolls around, she can take out the World Cup trophy currently sitting in U.S. Soccer’s trophy case, set it on the negotiating table and just on that alone, get a significant raise.

[Washington Post]


About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and I occasionally write for Awful Announcing and Freezing Cold Takes. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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