5 Soccer Players With Doctorate Degrees

In this post, I will focus on football players with doctorate degrees. So, if you ever asked if any footballers have a Ph.D., then this post is for you.

Some soccer players have chosen not to only do wonders with the balls, some tend to be more academical, and in the end, they are Ph.D. holders. Without delay, here are;

5 Soccer Players With Doctorate Degrees

  1. Marcus Rashford
  2. Gary Neville
  3. Vincent Kompany
  4. Felix Owolabi
  5. Sócrates

Let’s get started.

1. Marcus Rashford Doctorate Degree

England international footballer Marcus Rashford known for his exceptional skills on the soccer field has achieved a remarkable feat that sets him apart from his peers.

The University of Manchester awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his extraordinary charitable endeavors and his outstanding athletic accomplishments.

Rashford becomes the youngest player to ever receive an honorary degree in the history of the University of Manchester at the age of 23 years, joining the ranks of legendary Manchester United figures such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, who have also been honored by the university in the past.

During the event, Marcus Rashford expressed his gratitude, acknowledging the presence of Sir Alex Ferguson and others who played instrumental roles in his career.

Presenting Marcus with the honorary degree, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, praised his qualities, noting his sense of community and generosity that far exceeds his years.

Marcus’s charity work and high-profile campaigns not only positively impact millions of people in the country but also inspire others to make a difference in their communities.

Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer of Manchester United, lauded Marcus’s talent, describing him as someone who realizes the core values of the club.

She commended his efforts in championing the needs of young people, tackling food poverty, and effecting tangible change that has provided crucial support to countless families in need.

READ ALSO: Defenders With The Most Goals In Football History (Top 10)

2. Gary Neville

Gary Neville, the former Manchester United and England star, has been recognized for his contributions to environmental awareness and sustainable development.

Salford University has awarded him an honorary doctorate of science, acknowledging his work in promoting environmental responsibility and his dedication to sustainable building design.

The Bury-born former right-back’s interest in sustainable architecture blossomed while constructing his eco-home during his playing career.

This sparked his passion for sustainable building practices and led him to establish his design practice, Zerum, in Manchester back in 2005.

Together with his fellow Manchester United “Class of 92” stars, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and his brother Phil Neville, he embarked on a new venture, the construction of Hotel Football next to Old Trafford stadium.

In 2011, Gary Neville launched Sustainability in Sport, a foundation aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues and establishing eco-standards at sports clubs.

He joined his Class of 92 colleagues to invest in Salford City FC, placing environmental concerns at the forefront of their collective vision.

Expressing his gratitude upon receiving the honorary degree at The Lowry Museum in Salford Quays, Gary Neville spoke about his longstanding connection with the city and his delight in engaging more closely with the Salford community through Salford City FC and now as an honorary graduate of the university.

The University of Salford also honored other remarkable individuals during the ceremony.

Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, received an honorary doctorate of science in recognition of his dedication to improving public healthcare.

Additionally, Salford alumnus and electronics engineer David Tupman was acknowledged for his transformative contributions to the digital music and smartphone industries as the Vice President of iPhone and iPod Hardware Engineering for Apple.

3. Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany, the former captain of Manchester City and the current coach of Burnley received an honor as he was awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of Manchester during its annual Foundation Day celebration.

Kompany’s honorary doctorate follows his previous academic achievement at Alliance Manchester Business School, where he obtained a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in 2017.

During his time at the Business School, his research centered on the football industry and how clubs can leverage home advantage for their benefit.

Having made 265 appearances for Manchester City over 11 years, Kompany was the club’s captain from 2011 to 2019.

One of his famous accomplishments was during the 2011-2012 season when he led the club to their first Premier League title in 44 years.

In July of this year, he assumed the role of player-manager at RSC Anderlecht in the Belgian First Division, the club where he launched his professional playing career at 17.

Plus,  he has distinguished himself as an official FIFA ambassador for the charity SOS Children.

With Congolese heritage, he has invested in various projects aimed at providing education and safe accommodation for children living in poverty.

Notably, he established the social sportive project BX Brussels in March 2013, offering underprivileged youngsters in Brussels the opportunity to utilize sport as a catalyst for self-improvement.

During the same Foundation Day event, honorary doctorates were also conferred upon entrepreneur and investor Sherry Coutu, Professor of Nursing Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, and Chair of Chatham House, Lord Jim O’Neill.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, commended all four students for their outstanding contributions, highlighting the university’s dedication to improving lives through health and economic prosperity.

4. Felix Owolabi

Felix Owolabi is not only renowned for his soccer career but also for his academic achievements. Holding a doctorate in Physical Education, Owolabi’s dedication to both sports and academics was incredible.

In his career, he played for Kaduna Rocks in Kaduna, Raccah Rovers in Kano, and the iconic IICC Shooting Stars in Ibadan, where he remained for an impressive 15 years.

It was during his spell with IICC Shooting Stars that the club achieved a victory in 1992, clinching the CAF Cup, now recognized as the CAF Confederation Cup.

His thirst for knowledge and passion for physical education drove him to pursue higher education, ultimately earning a doctorate.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Premier League Clubs With Most Fans (2023)

5. Sócrates

Sócrates, the Brazilian football legend, achieved something truly extraordinary both on and off the football pitch. Not only was he a great player, but he also possessed a rare academic honor, he was a physician.

Sócrates’ career as a professional footballer and a medical doctor was impressive.

What makes Sócrates’ accomplishment remarkable is that he obtained his bachelor’s degree in medicine from the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, the renowned medical school of the University of São Paulo, while actively playing professional football.

It is a feat that is rare, as balancing the demands of a rigorous medical program with the commitments of a successful football career is an immense challenge.

He was a key figure in the famous Corinthians team of the 1980s, known for their stylish style of play.

Sócrates’ intelligence was obvious in his game, earning him the nickname “The Doctor of Football” both for his medical degree and his approach to the game.

Off the field, Sócrates carried his ideals of social justice and equality. He was a vocal advocate for democracy, using his platform to advocate for political change in Brazil during a period of authoritarian rule.

Sócrates believed in the power of football to bring about social transformation and used his influence to fight for social justice.


I have shared with you five amazing soccer players who hold doctorate degrees. Marcus Rashford, recognized for his charitable endeavors, became the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester.

Gary Neville’s dedication to sustainable architecture earned him an honorary doctorate of science from Salford University.

Also, Vincent Kompany, a former Manchester City captain, received an honorary doctorate from The University of Manchester for his contributions to the football industry. Felix Owolabi also holds a doctorate in Physical Education.

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