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Mike Petke’s contract with Real Salt Lake, explained

Did you know Mike Petke was given a bonus for playing youth players?

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the ball is well and truly rolling on former RSL coach Mike Petke’s case against Real Salt Lake, we’re seeing some very interesting documents attached to motions and filings.

For one, we now have the former RSL coach’s employment contract in full. Let’s talk about it.

Interested in reading the whole document? Have at it.

Termination of employment

Under Article III, titled “Termination of Employment,” it’s stated that Petke may be terminated prior to the expiration of the contract for the following:

A. Disability of the Employee that renders him incapable of performing his services for at least sixty (60) days out of any 12-month period.

B. Employee’s willful failure, neglect or refusal to render services hereunder as directed, or any material breach of this Agreement by Employee.

C. Employee’s gross negligence or willful misconduct in performing his duties, hereunder.

D. Employee’s arrest for any drug, alcohol or sex related incident.

E. Employee’s conviction of or plea of guilty or nolo contender to any felony or to a misdemeanor involving a crime of moral turpitude.

F. Employee’s commission of any action or involvement in any occurrence that brings Club or Employee into public disrepute, scandal or ridicule, or reflects in a material adverse manner on the integrity or reputation of the Club or the Owner, including, without limitation, dishonest, fraudulent, unethical or inappropriate conduct;

G. Employee’s breach of fiduciary duty (including loyalty) to the Club or engaging in any activity that is in conflict with, adverse to, or materially injurious to the business interests or goodwill of the Club;

H. Employee engages in any activity set forth in Section 1.04 above.

I. Employee’s failure to comply with Team Rules or League Rules.

J. Club is directed by the League Commissioner to terminate or suspend this Agreement, including, without limitation, because Employee engages in any activity set forth in Section 1.04 above.

K. Club may also terminate this Agreement upon written notice to Employee for any reason other than as set forth in Sections 1.04 and 3.01 above.

My reading of this is that the club would have fired him under Article III, Section 3.01-F.

Now, there doesn’t appear to be an arbitration clause relating to disputes here, so


Here’s (more of) the fun stuff.

Petke’s salary came out in the initial complaint, but we’ll highlight it again here:

  • 2018: $400,000 base salary
  • 2019: $450,000 base salary
  • 2020: $500,000 base salary

Petke also received as $12,000 yearly car stipend (I’m not sure what this would buy him, as I’m not a car person. A Lambo, maybe?), a $100,000 housing loan, which would be fully forgiven should he remain employed through the end of 2020, four round trip airline tickets annually, and eight season tickets.

In addition, there are some very interesting bonuses, too. See below.


  • Hosting an MLS playoff game: $10,000 per game
  • Appearing in MLS Cup: $15,000
  • Winning MLS Cup: $25,000
  • Winning the Supporters’ Shield: $10,000

U.S. Open Cup

  • Winning a home U.S. Open Cup match: $10,000
  • Winning the U.S. Open Cup: $25,000

Champions League

  • Hosting a home CONCACAF Champions League match: $10,000
  • Advancing to the CCL quarterfinals: $10,000
  • Advancing to the CCL semifinals: $10,000
  • Advancing to the CCL final: $10,000
  • Winning CCL: $30,000

Youth Development

  • Real Monarchs make the playoffs: $7,500
  • 30 MLS starts for under-24 players: $5,000
  • 40 MLS starts for under-24 players: $7,500
  • 50 MLS starts for under-24 players: $10,000 or $10,500, first year of contract/second and third years of contract

MLS Constitution

We’ll break this document down further soon, but in short, the argument for arbitration comes from the MLS Constitution, particularly section 2.D.3, which gives the MLS Commissioner — Don Garber — the “full and exclusive jurisdiction and authority to arbitrate” and resolve:

... any dispute between or among Players, other employees of MLS, or coaches or other employees of any Member (unless the dispute is unrelated to and does not affect MLS);

This is the argument made in the motion to dismiss or stay.

At any rate, take a look at the contract. Anything interesting pop out to you?