Do Soccer Players Get Paid For Playing For Their Country?

There is an awful lot of money involved in soccer, and professional players make tons of money at their clubs. But what about when they play for the national team? Do soccer players get paid for playing for their country?

Soccer players are paid in the form of appearance fees and bonuses when they play for their country. The amount of these fees and bonuses are determined by the soccer association of the respective country. The further a team gets during a tournament, the higher the bonus will be.

As mentioned, each country is allowed to decide how much it pays its players when they play for their country. Thus, these amounts can vary greatly from country to country. Read on to find out how much each country pays its soccer players.

Do Soccer Players Get Paid to Play For Their National Team?

The simple answer to whether or not soccer players get paid for representing their countries is, yes, they do indeed get paid.

However, they do not receive a traditional salary. Instead, they are paid appearance fees by their country's soccer federation.

They are paid in appearance fees because a soccer player can not be contracted to an international team.

Every time an international team participates in a group of games, they select a new roster of players. This is the same for both large tournaments and friendly matches.

For this reason, it would not make sense to pay a player a salary for representing their country as they may not get selected for every game.

It's worth noting that every nation pays its players a different amount.

There is no rule in place by FIFA (the main governing body for international soccer) stating how much a player should be paid by their country.

FIFA is more than happy to leave that up to the countries themselves.

The amount the player is paid per appearance is completely down to each country's respective soccer federation.

For example, the English soccer association will decide how much the England soccer team is paid. While the United States soccer federation ultimately decides how much the U.S. national team is paid.

But what about the star players?

Does a superstar like Lionel Messi get paid a higher appearance fee than other members of the Argentina squad?

Although most soccer federations choose to keep their players' appearance fees private, it is common knowledge that players are paid the same amount throughout the team.

So England captain Harry Kane will be earning the same appearance fee as a teammate who may only make an appearance off the bench.

You may also wonder if a player's fee is changed depending on whether the team wins or loses that match.

This once again comes down to each individual federation. However, paying one flat fee appears to be the norm for most federations.

Back in 2012, it was reported that the English soccer federation would pay their players a structured match fee where the players were indeed paid more for a win than they were for a loss or a draw.

However, this was reportedly changed in more recent times, and the players are now all paid the same fee regardless of the result.

Appearance fees are not the only way players make money when playing for their country.

When it comes to tournaments such as the World Cup, there are usually incentives in the form of large player bonuses. The amount of these bonuses again varies from country to country.

They are also varied depending on how far the team goes in the tournament.

This means a player will usually receive a much higher bonus for reaching a final than if they got eliminated in the group stage.

It's also worth bringing up that FIFA has an insurance policy that covers every international team. This is called the "Club protection program."

Although FIFA does not directly pay players to play for their country, they will use this program to cover a players club wages should they get injured while playing for their country.

(Click here to find out how much soccer players make in the World Cup)

How Much do International Soccer Players Get Paid?

We now know that international soccer players are paid, but how much do they get? Compared to what most star players earn on their club wages, not a lot.

The appearance fee that a country pays can usually vary depending on the game.

For example, a federation is likely to pay more in appearance fees during a World Cup than they would for a regular game.

Let's take a look at some examples.

How much does the U.S. pay its soccer players?

The U.S. Soccer Federation was said to be paying $1,500 to each of its players during friendly games in 2014. However, during the actual 2014 World Cup, that fee rose to $5,500 per game.

It was also reported that the players received a bonus of $76,000 each for reaching the World Cup in the first place.

Suppose the U.S. soccer team was to win the World Cup. In that case, it is estimated that each player would be awarded a bonus of just under $1 million.

How much does France pay its soccer players?

France is an excellent example of a country that pays a much higher appearance fee.

During the 2018 World Cup, the French Soccer Federation paid Kylian Mbappe $22,260 per game.

Although Mbappe is one of the team's star players, it's safe to assume the rest of the squad was being paid the same.

These figures may sound like a lot, but it's barely comparable when considering that Mbappe earns over $24 million a year from PSG.

For this reason, the player may have decided to donate all of his international appearance fees to charity.

Some teams may not have star names like Mbappe on their roster, and those players heavily rely on World Cup appearance fees to make good money.

Ghana is an excellent example of this.

How much does Ghana pay its soccer players?

In 2020, the Ghana Soccer Association paid its players $2,000 for friendly games. In the 2014 World Cup, though, they were able to pay their players a massive $25,000 fee per game.

You may be wondering why federations can pay their players a lot more during a World Cup?

The reason for this is simple. FIFA awards participating nations with prize money for every World Cup.

The prize money is higher for the teams who do better. How the prize money is spent is down to each individual soccer federation.

The prize money for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar in 2022 is a massive $450 million.

The winning team will receive $45 million, while the rest of the money will be divided among the remaining countries.

As a team progresses in the tournament, the prize money will increase.

Some country's soccer federations have already revealed the amount of money their players will win if they were to win the World Cup in Qatar.

Here is a short breakdown of how some country's federations will pay their players for winning the upcoming 2022 World Cup:

Country:Player earnings:
France$1 million
Germany$1 million
The Netherlands$1 million
United States$1 million +
England$1.1 million
Argentina$1.4 million
Spain$1.5 million
Brazil$2 million
Croatia$2 million
Serbia$2 million
Denmark$3.5 million

Some may be wondering, why do certain federations choose to pay their players less than others?

This is usually due to the federation choosing to reinvest the money elsewhere. In training facilities, stadiums, or coaching, for example.

It's also worth remembering that most players in the more prominent nations are already on substantial wages for their club team.

A factor that must surely weigh heavily on a federation's decision on how much to pay their soccer players.

How Much do England Players Get Paid Per Game?

The English Premier League is one of the biggest moneymakers in all of sports, but how much money do England's players make when they play for their national team?

This may come as a surprise, but the English soccer federation is actually one of the lowest-paying federations out there. 

The England players are reported to be on an appearance fee of $2,600 per game. That fee rises to $3,300 per game in the upcoming World Cup.

Even if the England soccer team were to win the World Cup, each player would only receive a bonus of $1.1 million from the English soccer federation.

This puts England among the countries with the lowest-paid bonuses.

These fees and bonuses pale in comparison to what these superstars earn at their Premier League clubs.

Players such as Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, and Raheem Sterling earn upwards of $350,000 a week. 

This means that some of the higher paid England players earn that World Cup bonus in less than a month when playing for the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City.

From this, it can be concluded that they are probably not representing their country for financial reasons.

It will probably come as no surprise then that every player who gets picked to play for England has agreed to donate their appearance fee to charity.

This is what all internationals on the England team have done since 2008.

Whether or not the England players would donate a cup-winning bonus to charity is yet to be seen.

After all, they haven't won a major trophy since 1966.

Conclusion

In summary, the average payment for an international soccer player is about $1,500 - $2000 per game, rising to $25,000 per game during a World Cup.

However, most well-known players choose to donate their fees to charity. 

The highest payment an international soccer player can receive is by winning the World Cup.

Bonus payments of $1 million - $3.5 million per player are there to be won if a team can make it all the way.

James Miller

Soccer has been my passion since I was a kid. After my own career, I became a coach, something I have been doing for 15 years now. Sharing my knowledge about soccer is what I love most. So I hope you can appreciate my articles.
Published: 
April 1, 2022

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Published: April 1, 2022