Toronto FC "is home to three of the 12 players" in MLS "making million-dollar-plus salaries" this season, according to documents cited by Neil Davidson of the CP. Sounders F Clint Dempsey "is the league's highest-paid player" at $6.695M, but two TFC players "are next" with MF Michael Bradley at $6.5M and F Jermain Defoe at $6.18M. Galaxy players "ranked fourth and fifth" with F Landon Donovan listed at $4.583M and F Robbie Keane at $4.5M. The figures, released on Thursday by the MLS Players Union, "do not include performance bonuses," nor do they "show instances where players are provided accommodations." While player salaries "may be larger than listed by the union," the figures "offer a look at a league of haves and have not's" (CP, 4/10). ESPN FC noted Dempsey this season, with bonuses included, will make "more money than the total player payrolls of 15 of the 19 MLS clubs" (ESPNFC.com, 4/10). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy noted seven of the 20 top-paid players in MLS are on the U.S. men's national team (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 4/10).
THE TURNING POINT: GRANTLAND's Graham Parker wrote under the header, "How MLS Commissioner Don Garber Took His League From Contraction To Expansion." Garber said, "The real turning point was 2007. 2007, we went from 12 teams to 13 teams. Toronto came in. It was our first addition of a new team with a global sports and entertainment entity that came in and said, ‘Hey, we really believe in MLS and we’re going to put our money behind the idea.’ And when Maple Leaf Sports said, ‘This is something we believe in,’ it sort of surprised the North American sports industry. Stan Kroenke came in and purchased Colorado Rapids, and he had a stadium planned ... And it really all came to fruition in ’07. [David] Beckham came on; we sold out Toronto, with 15,000 people on the waiting list; we started evolving the way we were thinking about player development. We started thinking, ‘Maybe we've got something here'" (GRANTLAND.com, 4/8).