The Full 90

Sporting news: KC signs local player, Open Cup tickets on sale and digging deeper into salaries

Updated: 2012-05-31T03:37:48Z

Charles Gooch

The Kansas City Star

Drafted in January’s MLS Supplemental Draft, Overland Park native Kyle Miller has trained with Sporting Kansas City for most of the last five months as a trialist.

But that changed Wednesday when the club announced that it had signed Miller, a St. Thomas Aquinas graduate and former player Sporting KC juniors player, to the 30-man roster.

Miller, 23, had appeared in three MLS reserve league matches and an exhibition win against his alma mater, Rockhurst, as well as three preseason matches.

Sporting Kansas City now have six local players on its roster: Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Michael Thomas, Kevin Ellis, Jon Kempin and Miller.

Open Cup tickets on sale

Sporting will host the Colorado Rapids next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Livestrong Sporting Park.

The winner will move on to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

Tickets are on sale for as low as $13 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL.

Digging Deeper into Sporting's salary situation

Last Friday, the Major League Soccer Player's Union released the salaries for each player for the 2012 season.

Without getting into "Sporting KC CPA" territory,* I thought it would be interesting to look through the salary data to find what's interesting. (If you want to see the full list and team-by-team breakdown, click here.)

*Accounting for every dollar KC spends isn't the same as comparing the payroll for the Chiefs or Royals. Major League Soccer plays a much bigger role in shaping/paying/setting salaries than in other leagues. Also, while the base and compensation figures are released, contract lengths are not. So, it's very hard to know how long Kansas City are on the hook for its highest-paid players.

Right out of the gate, the most surprising development is that Julio Cesar (he of former Real Madrid money) is the highest paid player at $252,000. Also surprising, he got a $42,000 raise this off-season. His yearly raise is more than Cyprian Hedrick will make this season.

The second-highest paid player is also a massive surprise: Paulo Nagamura ($250,000). He's made 9 appearances with only two starts. (He did score a wicked goal last night in the U.S. Open Cup against Orlando City.)

Rounding out the list of the highest paid are: Kei Kamara ($210,000), Aurelien Collin ($210,000), Jimmy Nielsen ($200,000) and Bobby Convey ($200,000).

Convey, who was acquired this off-season from the San Jose Earthquakes, took a nearly $115,000 pay cut this season. To put that into context, he lost more money this off-season than Graham Zusi gets paid this year ($105,000).

Speaking of off-season moves, Sporting KC shed $1,326,000 in base salary with guys like Davy Arnaud, Omar Bravo, Jeferson, Milos Stojcev, Craig Rocastle and Ryan Smith coming off the books.

That money was put to use with a few notable raises from last season.

Breakout midfielder Zusi got $63,000 added to his paycheck this year, though you could argue he's still slightly under-paid at $105,000. (Of the seven MLS players recently called up for national team duty, only teenager Juan Aguedelo makes less.)

Cesar got the next biggest raise, with Matt Besler (up $33,341 a year to $91,751), Luke Sassano (up $29,400 to $81,000)* and Seth Sinovic (who nearly doubled his 2011 salary of $32,604 to $60,000).

*I did a double-take when I saw Sassano's figure too.

A few other players got sizable raises to: Collin ($24,996), Nagamura ($25,000) and CJ Sapong ($23,000).

Sapong and his $65,000 a year figure might just be the best bargain in Major League Soccer. He's easily the biggest bargain on KC's roster.

Conversely, the worst bargain on the team would have to be Nagamura -- $250,000 for the reserve-league captain?

The only two players to take a pay cut for Sporting were off-season acquisitions: Convey and Jacob Peterson (who had $61,500 cut from his 2011 salary of $142,500).

Major League Soccer's roster rules allow the team to have 30 players on the roster (KC has just 28). Per the league's rules, only 20 players will count toward the team's $2,810,000 salary cap.

The players who definitely don't count toward the salary cap: Jon Kempin and Kevin Ellis (Homegrown contracts), Dom Dwyer (Generation adidas), and Cyprian Hedrick, Shawn Singh and Konrad Warzycha (all three earn the league minimum for players under the age of 25; which makes them off-budget players).

Assuming that the rest of KC's off-budget players are Lawrence Olum, Korede Aiyegbusi, Soony Saad and Peterson Joseph,* Kansas City's current salary cap number would be $2,366,601.

*According to league rules, a team can have a maximum of 10 players considered "off-budget." I'm making a major assumption -- because that information is not divulged -- that those four players making near the veteran minimum of $44,000 are considered "off-budget." It would allow KC to have more roster flexibility to snag a veteran player in the summer transfer window without many backflips.

Two more numbers.

• The combined salaries of KC's fourteen most-used players (those with 8 or more appearances this year): $2,035,751. That's Kamara, Bunbury, Sapong, Convey, Peterson, Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Cesar, Nagamura, Myers, Sinovic, Collin, Besler and Nielsen.

• The combined salaries of players without a single league appearance for KC this season: $464,706. That's Hedrick, Dwyer, Kronberg, Kempin, Ellis, Warzycha, Aiyegbusi, Thomas, Singh and Saad.

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