US Soccer Completes Labor Deal; American Players to Get Big-Dollar Incentives for World Cup

NEW YORK - (AP)- Players on the U.S. soccer team would each receive a minimum bonus of nearly $200000 apiece for advancing to the second round of next year's World Cup under an agreement that would allow each to earn almost $750000 if the Americans go unbeaten and win the tournament.

The U.S. Soccer Federation and the national team's labor union finalized a contract Monday that covers the next two World Cups and runs through 2010. Under the deal bonuses rise by 50 percent from the 2002 tournament and will increase from 22.5 percent to 35 percent from 2006-10 depending on how the Americans do at next year's tournament in Germany.

For advancing to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals the Americans' best result since 1930 players earned $200543 apiece. The bonuses last time went to the 23 players on the roster and the USSF also agreed to pay Chris Armas and Greg Vanney who were injured just before the tournament.

This time the USSF is paying the money to a pool that players will split among themselves similar to how postseason baseball teams divide their shares.

Each point earned during the first round would be worth $150000 to the player pool up from $100000 and the bonus for making the second round would be $2775000 up from $1.85 million. At least four points usually are needed to advance that means if the shares are split 23 ways players would receive at least $199239 for making the second round.

In addition each player will get $37500 for making the roster and $3750 for each game played by the team during the tournament.

Players would split $2.25 million for making the quarterfinals $2625000 for advancing to the semifinals $3 million for going to the final and $3.75 million for winning the tournament. Winning the third-place game would be worth $500000.

If the United States wins the World Cup having gone 7-0 each player would receive $748533 if shares are divided 23 ways.

In 2002 the quarterfinal bonus was $1.5 million the semifinal bonus $1.75 million the final bonus $2 million and the championship bonus $2.5 million.

The sides had agreed Jan. 21 to a no-strike pledge through 2005 ending a pay dispute in which management threatened to use replacement players in World Cup qualifiers. Using the regular players the United States qualified for its fifth straight World Cup.

Under the agreement retroactive to 2003 the team's bonus for qualifying for the World Cup rose to $1.35 million from $900000. Players' appearance fees for games other than World Cups are $3000. Bonuses for ties and wins in qualifying range from $1350 to $6000 depending on the result and the opponent and bonuses for exhibition games are $750 to $5250.