November 17, 2017
Tesho Akindele is the first MLS player to earn his degree online through a partnership with SNHU
FRISCO, Texas - Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and Major League Soccer (MLS) club FC Dallas teamed up to host a surprise graduation party and diploma delivery for Tesho Akindele, the first MLS player to earn a degree online from SNHU, as part of a partnership between the league and the university.
More than 100 FC Dallas staff, team members and loved ones joined the FC Dallas forward at Toyota Stadium for the surprise celebration to recognize his accomplishment.
"Tesho has raised the bar for all players who will ever play for FC Dallas by setting this example as a focused, dedicate professional both on and off the pitch," said FC Dallas president Dan Hunt.
Like many professional soccer players, Akindele has faced rigorous training and travel schedules, which limited his ability to attend classes in-person on a college campus. With online education through the partnership, he was able to earn his bachelor's degree with a near-perfect GPA, all while juggling his grueling schedule.
"Education is power in this world. The more you know, the more opportunities you have," said Akindele. "This is really special, I'm just really thankful to SNHU who made it really easy and reasonable for me to finish my degree while playing professional soccer."
After completing his bachelor's degree, Akindele enrolled in a master's program in finance with SNHU. His goal is to use his education to one day be a financial analyst or CFO.
"The most exciting moment for any of our students is when all their hard work and dedication pay off and they get their diploma," said Steve Thiel, senior director of strategic partnerships at SNHU. "We know that Tesho's schedule doesn't allow him to join us for commencement in New Hampshire in May, so we're thrilled to bring that experience to him today."
Through the partnership between MLS and SNHU, all MLS players and full-time staff have the opportunity to pursue a degree online with SNHU, and more than 40 players and 50 staff are currently enrolled.
SNHU LEADS was first held four years ago to give online students another option to connect with one another on the Southern New Hampshire University Campus in Manchester, N.H.
Mihir Pandya knew he wanted to work in communications in the sports industry. With a bachelor's in journalism, Pandya decided a master's in communication would bring him one step closer to his goals.
Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc was presented with the 2018 TIAA Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education this week.