Pro soccer coaches work in leagues all around the globe. Some manage professional club teams while others guide national squads in international competition. It takes an exceptional amount of experience with the sport to become a professional soccer coach, no matter what league a coach aspires to participate in. Those that make it to the professional level must demonstrate tactical and technical training prowess as well as a track record of competence in managing players' different personalities and skill sets to get the best out of the team as a whole. Coaching salaries vary greatly, depending on factors such as geography, the level of competition and the profile of the coach.
FIFA World Cup National Teams
The FIFA World Cup stands out as the highest level of competition in soccer. Every four years a group of 32 qualifying nations from around the world congregates to play in this month-long tournament. Coaches of many national teams in the World Cup boast some extremely lucrative salaries. For example, Fabio Capello earned approximately $8 million to coach England's national team in the 2010 World Cup, according to the Washington Post. Most coaches in the 2010 World Cup held contracts in the range of $1 million to $3 million. The NY Daily News listed several well-known coaches falling into this category, including South Africa's Carlos Alberto Parreira, Germany's Joachim Loew, Brazil's Dunga and the Netherlands' Bert van Marwijk. Coaches on the lower end of the salary scale for the 2010 World Cup included Bob Bradley of the United States, Matiaz Kek of Slovenia and Rabah Saadane of Algeria. All three of these coaches earned between $300,000 and $500,000 per year to guide their national teams to the tournament, according to the NY Daily News.
Top European Leagues
Europe is home to the world's wealthiest and most competitive soccer leagues. The top European leagues include England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, the German Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A. These leagues attract the best players from around the world, as well as the best coaches. Most coaches in these elite leagues made approximately $1 million to $3 million per season as of 2010. However, a small handful of veteran coaches with high profile clubs commanded superior salaries in the range of $5 million to $12 million. Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid led the way in 2010 with a contract worth roughly $12 million, according to the Times Live. Other upper-echelon coaches with extravagant salaries in 2010 included Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Rafael Benitez of Inter Milan.
Major League Soccer--USA
The United States' Major League Soccer (MLS) has taken major strides since its first season in 1996. Building from a humble start, the league has featured major stars such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan. Despite its gradually increasing popularity, MLS coach and player salaries generally lag far behind those in Europe. The average salary of head coaches in MLS was only around $250,000 in 2007, according to ESPN Soccernet. A few well-known coaches like Bruce Arena and Ruud Gullit pulled in between $600,000 and $1.2 million per season, but most of the league's coaches earned far less.
Other Professional Leagues
Professional soccer leagues exist in nearly every country on the planet. Salaries for coaches vary drastically from one league to the next. For instance, coaches working in small-market European countries like the Netherlands and Portugal still tend to make much more than those coaching club teams in developing nations throughout Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Similarly, coaches plying their trade in other developed countries like Japan and South Korea typically stand to earn better wages than those working in impoverished nations with unfavorable economic conditions.
Coaching salaries ultimately depend on market value. World-famous club teams with widespread media exposure in developed nations invariably offer the biggest coaching contracts, while lower-tier leagues pay their coaches much less. Some coaches' contracts may seem excessive, but the additional revenue generated by well-known coaches who win games helps owners to justify their spending sprees.
- The Washington Post: Soccer Insider--Bob Bradley's Salary and USSF Finances
- NY Daily News: England's Fabio Capello is Highest Paid Coach in World Cup
- Trophy4Toon: Premier League Salaries
- Times Live: Mourinho Unveiled at Real Madrid
- KayCircle: What is the Average FIFA Coach Salary?
- ESPN Soccernet: Coaching Landscape in MLS is Changing
- Jordi Lopez dot/Hemera/Getty Images