BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Major League Soccer Players Association and the Indiana University Kelley School of Business are teaming up to provide current and former MLS players with an opportunity to earn a master's degree or certificate designed to prepare them for future success after their playing days.
The partnership with the MLS Players Association builds on nearly 35 years of success in customized education at Kelley that includes a similar graduate education program with the NFL Players Association. More than 50 current and former NFL players are currently enrolled, and more than 70 have completed MBAs and certificates since 2015.
With approximately 3,400 active and former members, the MLS Players Association is the labor union and exclusive bargaining representative for all MLS players. Established in 2003, the player-run organization promotes and protects players' collective rights and best interests, amplifies their voices, and represents them in their group commercial and licensing activities.
Later this year, present and past MLS players will be able to apply for an MBA degree, being delivered online by the Kelley School's Executive Degree Programs, as well as certificates and a Master of Science degree.
"We are pleased to build more on our proud record of presenting customized graduate programs that meet the needs of students in a wide variety of corporate and educational settings," said Ash Soni, interim dean of the Kelley School and the SungKyunKwan Professor. "They include professionals at aerospace, information technology, appliance and auto companies, as well as those who are place kickers, quarterbacks and linebackers.
"We look forward to similarly delivering a winning experience for these accomplished goalkeepers, midfielders, wingers and strikers, who compete in the 'beautiful game' and who will one day score goals in new careers."
MLS Players Association members will be part of a general group of students and have an opportunity to learn with those enrolled in similar specialized MBA degree programs, offering them a broader perspective of strategic management and economic issues.
Dan Jones, chief operating officer for the MLS Players Association, said the organization is thrilled to partner with a school that offers similar corporate programs to employees at multinational firms such as GE Appliances, General Motors, Ingersoll Rand, Booz Allen Hamilton and Raytheon Technologies.
"Ensuring players are best-equipped to continue their education during or after their career is a key focus of the MLSPA," Jones said. "Partnering with the Kelley School of Business will open a new world of opportunities for our members, both past and present, to take part in a high-caliber program that fits their unique needs and sets them up for continued success off the pitch."
Key features of the MLS Players Association-Kelley MBA program will include the Kelley Capstone Experience, which puts teams of students to work on real-world strategic projects. This provides them with an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge acquired in the MBA program to actual business problems that directly relate to each person's goals and objectives.
Courses, such as those in business planning, economics, management strategy and quantitative analysis, are taught by the same high-ranked faculty who teach in Kelley's full-time programs. Many of these classes will be taught using the school's new $10 million Brian D. Jellison Studios. The immersive, state-of-the-art studios enhance the delivery of course content and provide an even more dynamic experience, with faculty and students being together virtually as if they were in an in-person classroom.
For some MLS players, the program could be something of a homecoming. IU's eight-time national-championship-winning men's soccer team has produced more than 50 MLS players, including 12 currently on active rosters. All are now welcome back to IU to continue their studies.
The MLS Players Association-Kelley partnership is one example of customized education at the school. For more information about Executive Degree Programs, email email@example.com.