About the MLS Players Union
The Major League Soccer Players Union serves as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for all
current players in Major League Soccer. Formed in April 2003, the Union ensures protection of the rights of all MLS Players, while also promoting their best interests.
In 2004, the Union and MLS signed the first ever collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") covering MLS players, which ran through January 31, 2010. After negotiating with MLS throughout 2009 and 2010, on March 20, 2010 the Union and MLS agreed to a new CBA, effective February 1, 2010 and running through the 2014 season. The new CBA provides significant benefits for MLS players. In building upon the 2004 CBA, the 2010 CBA increases salary budgets by over 34% and minimum salaries by more than 42% over the five year term, maintains continued 100% fully-paid health insurance benefits and increased retirement contributions from the league, while also dramatically increasing the number of players with guaranteed contracts. In addition, the CBA increases player movement rights, provides limitations on the number of unilateral options in a player's contract, and provides an expanded role for an independent arbitrator to hear disputes between MLS and players. MLS and the Union also negotiated a new Group License Agreement with the league. The revenue from this agreement allows the Union to keep the dues it charges to players at a level that is among the lowest in U.S. professional sports.
The Union is a democratic organization run by and for players, and ultimate control over the Union rests with the players. The players on each team vote by secret ballot to elect a Player Representative, and those Player Representatives elect a five-player Executive Board. The Executive Board governs the Union and makes all major decisions. The Executive Board also hires the Union's Executive Director, who runs the day-to-day operations of the Union, and its General Counsel, who provides legal advice to the Union.
Bob Foose serves as the Union's Executive Director, and Jon Newman, a partner in the law firm of Sherman, Dunn, Cohen, Leifer & Yellig, P.C., in Washington D.C., is the Union's General Counsel. Former MLS players and Union
officers Eddie Pope and John Thorrington also work for the Union, Pope as Director of Player Relations and Thorrington as Special Assistant to the Executive Director. Mike Senkowski serves as Staff Counsel for the Union.