NewsFeb 07, 2023

MLSPA and UF Online Announce Education Partnership

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – UF Online, the University of Florida’s top-ranked online bachelor’s degree program, and Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) announced an education partnership to support soccer players in the United States and Canada today.

MLSPA is the labor union and exclusive bargaining representative for all Major League Soccer players, ensuring the protection of their bargained-for rights. Through this strategic partnership, UF Online hopes to increase access to a UF degree for current and former players who wish to pursue their academic goals. This new partnership is effective for UF Online’s Fall 2023 semester.

“UF Online offers an unparalleled online education and students earn the exact same degree as their campus counterparts. We are delighted to establish this pathway for the best soccer players in North America to continue to excel off the field and in the classroom,” said Evangeline Tsibris Cummings, senior assistant provost and director of UF Online.

Ranked the No. 1 online bachelor’s degree program in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report, UF Online strives to increase access to a University of Florida degree through new partnerships. Launched in 2021, UF Online’s Gator Pathways program is designed to welcome students from all locations and life stages to earn their UF bachelor’s degree via UF Online. This partnership with MLSPA is the latest addition to Gator Pathways, whereby UF Online partners with employers and associations to remove barriers for their workforce and membership to earn their UF degree.

MLSPA students can choose from 25 fully online programs including business administration, computer science, advertising, and sports management. Current and former players can take classes on their schedules with guidance from dedicated academic advisors from day one.

“We’re excited to offer this opportunity for our past and present players to further their education at the institution ranked first in online bachelor’s programs for two years in a row. Through UF’s flexible programs, our players will be able to accomplish their educational goals while also continuing to pursue their on and off-field interests,” said Connor Ford, director of player programs for MLSPA.

Established in 2003, the MLSPA serves to promote players’ collective best interests, amplify their voices, and represent them in their group commercial and licensing activities. The MLSPA is a democratic organization, run by and for players.

Today’s announcement is a testament to UF Online’s continued leadership in education nationwide. Given its exemplary standing in online education, UF Online has established a trusted partnership with one of sport’s biggest labor unions.

Interested players can contact MLSPA Director of Player Programs Connor Ford at for more information. The Fall Semester application deadline is May 1, 2023. Organizations and associations interested in achieving their goals by helping their members and workers join the Gator Nation can contact UF Online Assistant Director for Strategic Partnerships Rachel Cook at or call 352-273-2774.