How Much Do San Diego Legion Players Earn? (2023)

This article reviews the salaries of San Diego Legion rugby players in Major League Rugby.

We acknowledge that salaries are private contracts between the franchise and players. San Diego Legion doesn’t publish the details.

However, information gets around the small circles of American rugby. We’ve collected and reviewed all the details from credible sources.

How Do San Diego Legion Rugby Players Get Paid?

Before we review the numbers, we’ll look at different ways that players earn their total income for the year.

Monthly club wages may just be part of the story. A player’s full income can come from several sources.

Note that some players in the San Diego squad are solely compensated with wages. The other options on this list will only apply to a selection of players.

  • Monthly club wages
  • Assistance with accommodation and rent
  • Assistance with part-time employment outside the club
  • Part-time coaching
  • International match fees (these are not paid by San Diego Legion)

Subsidized rent

Younger players often choose to share in a group accommodation arranged through the franchise. Each will pay a low rent for a room in a large house. This works out well in a relatively high-priced city like San Diego.

Academy players in elite clubs in England and Ireland have similar arrangements. Indeed, senior players may also share – I know plenty of examples where brothers rent together.

This won’t be attractive to players with children. But families can also get some level of rent assistance.

Part-time coaching

coach giving instructions

Experienced players may be offered part-time coaching roles. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are involved in coaching their San Diego Legion teammates.

They may be coaching through the academy program run by the franchise. These players will have gone through the formal coaching courses regulated by World Rugby.

Helping with part-time employment

The MLR competition lasts seven months. Franchises encourage lower-paid players to get a second income during the off-season.

Some players on the fringes of the squad (i.e. rarely making the match-day 23) may also take part-time jobs that can fit around their training requirements.

What Do San Diego Legion Players Get Paid?

If you check out our general overview of salaries in Major League Rugby, you’ll see that the star players can earn up to $45K.

SD Legion has made some high-profile signings from overseas. Former England captain Chris Robshaw is probably the most eye-catching.

The franchise also has the highly experienced Springbok winger Cecil Afrika on the books.

They also have a smattering of players from New Zealand, Fiji, and other countries.

Average salaries for rugby players with San Diego Legion

Star players at San Diego Legion earn $45K per season. This is the maximum allowed salary in the MLR.

Other senior rugby players earn from $15K-$30K per season. Less experienced players are paid about $10K.

The lowest pay is for part-time players on a pay-to-play basis at minimum wage.  

major league rugby salary ranges

The two star players at the franchise are Robshaw and Afrika.

These salaries may seem low if you are familiar with contracts in other countries. You may be wondering what kind of salaries that Robshaw and Afrika are leaving behind.

I’ll give you some comparisons at the end of this article.

Did Covid Impact Salaries At Old Glory?

The 2020/21 Major League Rugby season was shortened due to Covid restrictions. The tournament was canceled five weeks into the season.

It’s a credit to the league that all the franchises paid their players for the season despite the shutdown.

In many other countries, professional clubs negotiated with their players to take a 10-25% pay cut.

Cynics might point out that the salaries are very low in the MLR already.

But that doesn’t mean that the franchise owners shouldn’t get credit for treating their players well in a tough time for everybody.

The Salary Cap In Major League Rugby

MLR franchises are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad. The level is currently $500K.

Any franchise can increase its cap by participating in a set of player and community development activities.

It’s been confirmed that San Diego Legion hit the targets laid out by MLR.

This is due to their academy program which gives opportunities to younger players to make their way into professional rugby.

Meeting the development targets means that the SD Legion cap increases by $250K.

sign showing maximum

Note that the extra budget can’t go directly on player salaries. But the club can play extra income to players who are also coaching at the development and youth levels.

How Does San Diego Legion Afford The Player Salaries?

You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover player salaries. The answer is that they’re not.

The franchise has several owners including a real estate financier, a high-profile attorney, and a former Springbok captain. This helps with the budget!

You can read more in our article on the owners of San Diego Legion.

How Does San Diego Legion Compare With Clubs In Other Countries?

Chris Robshaw arrived in San Diego after a long and successful career with an England Premiership club. Check out our article on how much players are paid at Harlequins.

There are also some South African players in the setup. Check out our article on how much players are paid in South Africa.