The promise of fame and fortune has fuelled many a youngster’s dream of becoming a professional footballer.
The realisation of such dreams is epitomised by the likes of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, whose skills have made them household names and landed them some of the most lucrative contracts football has ever seen.
Those footballers are handsomely compensated for being the best players in their respective leagues. They have no difficulty providing for their families. The same, however, cannot be said for those who ply their trade in Jamaica’s top flight.
Though the pay scale varies among the 12 Red Stripe Premier League teams, there is not much disparity, with the average player earning between $15,000 (TT$892) and $40,000 (TT$2,380) monthly.
“Right now, the young ballers will get $15,000 (TT$892) or $20,000 (TT$1,190) for the month; I am the captain and a $35,000 (TT$2,082) mi get,” bemoaned Boys’ Town’s Michael Campbell, a league veteran. “It stress mi out more time … because I don’t benefit from it (playing football).”
Campbell, a father of four, has been forced to find additional means of income. This has impacted negatively on his playing career.
“A lot of times these days I am on the bench or do not play some games, but it is because of the work, as a that really a provide the food,” 35-year-old Campbell said. “Worse, I am getting up in age so I have to just be concentrating on that (work) than playing for Boys’ Town.”
Dicoy Williams of defending league champions Harbour View had the privilege of playing in the United States Major League for two years where he represented Toronto FC. Williams believes the disparity between salaries locally and abroad is an apples and oranges situation.
“It (salary) is not even something that you can compare from Toronto to Jamaica or any professional league in the world.”
The 27-year-old defender revealed that from his salary at Toronto Football Club (FC)—which is 80 per cent more than he earns representing Harbour View – he was able to purchase a car, which he would not be able to do now, as it is mere love for the game which pushes him on.
“Not because there is no money here we are going to stop play ball; this is what we love, our pride and joy,” Williams argued. “To stop play football and just sit down, what are we going to do? Most of the ballers don’t have anything else.”
Click here to read the complete story on the Jamaica Gleaner website.
Editor’s Note: The average salary for local Pro League footballers is between TT$3,000 and TT$5,000 per month with the top players generally earning up to TT$9,000.