He may not have been more than an acquaintance of Jordan's crown prince, but New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch certainly remembers Prince Ali bin Hussein for, among other things, wearing international soccer jerseys when both attended Princeton nearly two decades ago. Now he thinks that his fellow Princeton graduate is the right man to right FIFA in the wake of worsening scandals.
Prince Ali, who in recent weeks has made headlines for challenging Sepp Blatter as FIFA's president, may be in line for another shot to head soccer's governing body. Despite withdrawing from FIFA's election last week and ceding the vote to Blatter, Prince Ali might just get another shot at the job. Blatter resigned from the position on Tuesday just days after he was re-elected to a fifth term as the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA and his presidency continues to widen.
And now Prince Ali might again have a chance to head FIFA and lead the world's most influential sports governing body out of a corruption scandal. Both the prince and Marsch were at Princeton in the 90s and became acquainted with each other over time.
“Prince Ali has always been a really smart guy, a really bright guy. When I knew him at Princeton, he was visible on campus but very integrated in campus. And liked being a Princetonian. Was Jordanian but also was very cosmopolitan. He spoke very good English, a very smart guy. A lot of experiences, a lot of international experiences. If you know Jordanians, they are very progressive people. I've been to Jordan, I've seen [it] first hand. I think Prince Ali is a good representative of what his people are like,” Marsch told Metro on Tuesday.
The two have not had any contact since Marsch's final season at Princeton in 1995. Marsch did try a few years ago to connect with Prince Ali when he was in Jordan but was unable to thread that final connecting pass to see his old schoolmate again.
Marsch was an All-American at Princeton and was drafted in the inaugural MLS College Draft in 1996.
The Red Bulls head coach was a history major and wrote a senior thesis entitled “Shaken, Not Stirred: An Evaluation of Earthquake Awareness in California.”
From his memories of Prince Ali, he thinks that Jordan's prince is the right man to shake things up at corrupt FIFA.
“I think he'd be a great candidate. He was always into football when we were at Princeton. He'd wear jerseys occasionally – international like Real Madrid, stuff like that,” Marsch said.
“I think he's represented himself really well in the campaign as a smart guy, as a guy who cares about the right things, a guy who won't be influenced. I think he has a pretty good track record of being an honest, good, smart person even as a royal coming from Jordan. I think he's a real guy and I think he'd be a steady hand to have in charge of FIFA.”