SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Thousands of San Diego sports fans pack stadiums to watch their favorite athletes compete on the highest level.
However just because they are professional athletes does not mean they are making major league money. To be clear, we are not talking about the Padres here, but our other favorite athletes on the semi-pro and minor league teams in America’s Finest City.
News 8’s Eric Kahnert met with several athletes who have side jobs and in some cases three jobs to make ends meet.
Their passion for the game pays off on the field, but it doesn’t always pay the bills.
Chad Hagerty is a veteran midfielder for the San Diego Sockers, he says he tried to play professionaly outdoors, but he didn’t quite make it leading him to take on two other jobs to pay the bills.
The average Sockers salary is between $15,000 and $45,000 over the six-month season, but salaries in the Major Arena Soccer League are on the rise.
Ten-year veteran of the Sockers, Kraig Chiles told News 8 the pay depends on what stage of their career they are in. Chiles went on to say that he knows some players who are real estate agents, accountants and some who are soccer coaches.
Kraig serves as the director of a youth soccer club in Cardiff which also happens to be where his teammate Chad Hagerty coaches as well. They know that they won’t be able to play the game they love forever so it is important to have something else in life they are passionate about.
One of Chad’s passions is to make the world a cleaner place. He helped start a Solana Beach business using recycled materials to make products that can assist in cleaning up oil spills. Chad told News 8 that he handles some of the accounting, the logistics, communicating with customers and even dabbles in sales.
These side job stories are not unique to soccer. Players on San Diego’s newest football team, the San Diego Fleet.
Linebacker Eric Pinkins says he can use his mindset on the football field in his second job as a real estate agent.
Many of the players in the Alliance of American Football League start with a $75,000 salary.
The startup league is hoping to become the feeder league to the NFL. This means players can exit their contracts if they get a shot in the NFL.
Each of the local athletes News 8 spoke with all echoed the same sentiment. Everything depends on the fans. Pinkins said, “We love you guys and appreciate your support, and without you guys we don’t have a team.”
Secondary jobs are also common in rugby. The San Diego Legion has a $500,000 salary cap which averages out to around $20,000 per player during the season. Some of the guys on the Legion work construction while another is an engineer for a second job.
When it comes to the Gulls, compensation is a different story. Rookies with and entry level contract in the American Hockey League start out at $70,000, but a lot of them have two-way NHL contracts which means if they are called up to the Anaheim Ducks they make the league minimum of $650,000 if they stay a certain amount of games.
San Diego’s Lacrosse team, the San Diego Seals do not release salary information.