AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC announced a contract extension for star midfielder Sebastian Driussi in February, saying there was “worldwide interest” in him following his fantastic 2022 season.
According to data released Tuesday by the Major League Soccer Players Association, the club opened up its checkbook to keep him in Austin.
The players union published player salary data for all MLS teams, and along with signing and other applicable bonuses, Driussi’s guaranteed yearly paycheck is $6.02 million, about three times more than he was making in his previous contract. His base salary is $3.8 million with his bonuses nearly doubling it to make up his total.
Compared with the rest of the league, Driussi is the fifth-highest-paid player in terms of guaranteed compensation. Chicago’s Xherdan Shaqiri is the league’s highest earner at $8.15 million, followed by Toronto’s Lorenzo Insigne at $7.5 million and LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez at $7.44 million.
Toronto has two of the league’s top-five highest-paid players with Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, who is making almost $6.3 million. Toronto has the league’s highest payroll at $25.7 million. Austin has the league’s fifth-highest payroll at $19.9 million. CF Montreal has the league’s smallest payroll at $10.5 million.
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Along with Driussi, three other players for Austin FC make at least $1 million. Emiliano Rigoni and Alex Ring, like Driussi, are considered “Designated Players” and Austin can pay them as much as they want with a minimal salary cap hit. Rigoni earned $2.04 million with Ring at $1.64 million. Diego Fagundez is the team’s highest-paid player not categorized as a DP at $1.06 million.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver also signed a contract extension in the offseason and bumped his yearly paycheck up to $430,813. He made $185,000 last season.
Julio Cascante, who is working back into the starting lineup following an injury that kept him out for two months, is the team’s highest-paid defender after Ring at $693,750. Gyasi Zardes, who scored his first goal of the season for Austin FC in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Seattle, was signed as a free agent to an $800,000 per year contract.