Three-year renewal will expand access to education in MLS communities across the U.S. and Canada
Manchester, N.H. (January 18, 2018) - Major League Soccer (MLS) and its Official Education Partner, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), have extended their partnership for three years, continuing upon their commitment to help MLS players and staff earn college degrees.
MLS and SNHU began working together in 2015 and through the partnership, all MLS players and staff are able to pursue a degree online with SNHU, all while managing grueling travel and training schedules. The partnership also emphasizes community-based initiatives aimed at supporting youth programs, local charities and the military in major cities.
"Often times, professional players have to choose between going to college and going into the pros," said Steve Thiel, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, SNHU. "But thanks to this partnership, MLS players no longer have to postpone one dream to achieve the other. We're excited to continue our partnership with MLS to help make a difference in communities across North America."
With the renewal, SNHU and the League will continue working across MLS communities to expand access to education for underserved populations.
"MLS' innovative partnership with Southern New Hampshire University has been a huge success and has a positive impact on the entire organization," said Jennifer Cramer, Vice President, Partnership Marketing, MLS. "We are excited to extend this true win-win partnership which will continue to provide opportunities for our players, coaches and staff to earn a degree while juggling their busy schedules."
Since the partnership began, more than 180 MLS players, retired players and staff have enrolled in degree programs with SNHU, and four degrees have been awarded. Tesho Akindele, FC Dallas forward and member of the Canadian National Team, was the first player to graduate from SNHU through the partnership and is now working toward his master's degree.
"A lot of us had to put our education on hold to pursue our dreams in soccer. This partnership allows us to keep working towards our degree while still playing the game we love," said Akindele.
In addition to helping MLS players and staff reach their educational goals, SNHU and the League have also worked together to support local communities and charitable organizations over the past few years. Together, they've built 26 safe places to learn and play in MLS communities, donated nearly $300,000 to the United Service Organizations (USO), awarded more than 20 SNHU scholarships, and contributed $100K to U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success Program.
To learn more about the partnership, please visit SNHU's partnership webpage or infographic.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer (MLS) features 23 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. The 23rd MLS season kicks off March 3. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.
About Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit institution with an 85-year history of educating traditional-age students and working adults. Now serving more than 85,000 students worldwide, SNHU offers over 200 accredited undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs, available online and on its 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH. Recognized as the "Most Innovative" regional university by U.S. News & World Report and one of the fastest-growing universities in the country, SNHU is committed to expanding access to high quality, affordable pathways that meet the needs of each student. Learn more at www.snhu.edu.
MLS Communications - 212.450.1223