New Partnership between Reformed Theological Seminary and Missionary Athletes International

“I love the mission of MAI and the Charlotte Eagles. They are on the front lines of ministry, sharing the gospel in hard to reach places through the sport of soccer. RTS is thrilled to provide theological education for their coaches, players, and leaders so they can fulfill this mission more effectively.” 

– Dr. Michael J. Kruger, RTS Charlotte President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity.


“The Bible calls us to take the gospel to the nations and God has given MAI opportunities to accomplish this through the most popular sport in the world, soccer. We are thankful for this new partnership with RTS, through which we hope to train and equip our staff to more effectively accomplish this gospel outreach task from Charlotte to the ends of the earth.”

– David Urban, the CEO of MAI


This new partnership will pair the full resources of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), one of the largest seminaries in the world with Missionary Athletes International (MAI), one of the front-line soccer ministries that has a national and international outreach.  This strategic relationship hopes to better equip and prepare MAI staff to share the messages of God’s redeeming love through their soccer outreaches, training, and events.

History of Missionary Athletes International (MAI)

The mission of MAI is to”Glorify God and see lives transformed by communicating the message of Jesus Christ through the global environment of soccer.”  That vision for using soccer to reach a lost world led to the inception of MAI by Tim Conrad in La Habra, California in 1983. The fall of 1986 brought Dave Irby to MAI as its first full-time staff member. In the fall of 1987, six other men joined MAI’s staff. MAI became a charter member of the global sports network in 1985 and has been a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability since 1989.  The fall of 1990 brought the opening of MAI’s first divisional ministry office outside of the Los Angeles area. In 1991, MAI opened a ministry office in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Today, MAI has three office locations in the United States, two of which also house MAI headquarters functions. Executive functions are located in Charlotte, North Carolina and Mission Support Services in La Mirada, California. Ministry sites include La Mirada, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chicago, Illinois with additional ministry programs occurring in other states.  The Charlotte soccer club is called the Charlotte Eagles, the Los Angeles club is called the Southern California Seahorses, and the Chicago club is called the Chicago Eagles.

MAI’s main methods of evangelism and discipleship have been the organizing of soccer teams, conducting soccer camps and taking short-term soccer tours overseas. These programs are augmented by other ministries, including: clinics, school programs, prison and inner city ministries, training leaders to be sports ministers, and sending them out to partner with other Christian agencies.

The Basics of the Partnership

As the exclusive seminary partner and co-laborer in providing biblical and theological training for staff of Missionary Athletes International (MAI), Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) has agreed to provide a tuition discount at a rate of 50% for full- and part-time course work completed at any RTS campus and through Distance Education for any staff who work 20 or more hours a week with MAI or its subsidiaries.  The scholarship will also apply toward audit fees.  In order to receive this scholarship, the student must apply for financial aid each year. The financial aid application will be resubmitted each year in accordance with the RTS financial aid policy.  As part of the initial financial aid application, the student must include a letter from the MAI verifying that the applicant currently works for MAI or its subsidiaries within the above-mentioned parameters. Furthermore, RTS offers its faculty (as available) to MAI for training and conference events.  For details about applying, please see the Admissions Office at the particular campus of interest.