Master of Education in Applied Human Development Graduate Projects


Over the past ten years, Major League Soccer (MLS) has grown substantially by implementing stadium development projects similar to those used by other major leagues in the United States. This study analyzes the critical role of soccer-specific stadiums in MLS's recent success and compares it to the current state of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). Additionally, the study explores this growth's social and economic impacts through liminality and communitas concepts. Despite MLS's achievements in expanding to new markets and adopting stadium development initiatives, the sustainability of this model remains uncertain. The paper then suggests that future research should focus on why the league should prioritize global soccer best practices rather than continuing to adapt to the closed league system used by other major leagues in the United States. Furthermore, given the United States co-hosting of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, aligning with the global system is crucial to elevate United States soccer to the next level. The paper utilizes secondary data sources and frequency analysis to examine MLS trends over the last decade and make recommendations to the Nigerian league on how to channel their strategy for growth. Ultimately, the study suggests that the United States and MLS adopt a new approach to compete effectively in international soccer, leveraging the country's infrastructure, socio-economic capacity, and increasingly diverse population.

Keywords: Major League Soccer, Nigeria Professional Football League, Soccer, 2026 FIFA World Cup, Soccer-specific Stadium, Premier League


Dr. Sungho Cho

Second Reader

Dr. David Tobar








Sport Administration