MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences


International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Rev. Dr. Ted Engelbrecht


The purpose of this culminating project was to identify the power of soccer in the context of international development and apply it to soccer-based youth empowerment programs, specifically an after-school program at El Nacional public school in Ecuador. Soccer is becoming one of the best approaches to connect various peoples who do not share the same language or cultural traditions because of its universal popularity, as evidenced by the more than one billion people who watched coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Final Match (numbers to be consolidated) (“The 2014 FIFA World Cup,” n.d.). Given the evidence that soccer has the power to attract people, one can use it as a tool for social change. Among the literature researched, soccer-based projects and related studies showed the effectiveness of the use of soccer as a tool to tackle various social issues, even while some also mentioned the necessity of deeper study as this is still an emerging field (Tannenwald, 2013; UN Inter-agency Task Force, 2011). Therefore, further research is needed to affirm the potential power of soccer approach to social issues among youth. This culminating project further identified the role of soccer in an international development context and presented suggestions for applying soccer effectively in an after-school program at El Nacional public school in Ecuador.