Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brian Reilly, University Trustee - And The World Cup

TigerBlog gets emails all the time from the good people of the University communications office.

Mostly these emails announce general Princeton news, like faculty hires, changes in policy and even things like the one he just got this second, about the upcoming University blood drive.

Then there was the one yesterday, the one that announced that there were nine new members of the Board of Trustees.

As is always the case when he gets one of those emails, TigerBlog looked it over to see if there would be any familiar names. And in this case, there most assuredly was.

Brian Reilly was named a Young Alumni Trustee, a four-year position on the Board. Reilly's name was familiar to TB, of course. He was the third brother in his family to play lacrosse at Princeton, after his older brothers Brendan and Connor.

Brian graduated this year after playing mostly as a man-down defensemen his last two years. His time at Princeton was hardly just about lacrosse though. His bio from the story about the new trustees:
Reilly, of McLean, Virginia, graduated this year with a degree in the Wilson School and certificates in Latin American studies, Spanish language and culture, and French language and culture. He participated in Princeton's Bridge Year Program in its inaugural year and was based in Urubamba, Peru. Over consecutive summers, he participated in Princeton's Aix-en-Provence Program for French Studies; conducted research for Princeton's Innovations for Successful Societies; and was a Leadership Development intern for the Truman National Security Project in Washington, D.C. Reilly was a residential college adviser in Rockefeller College; an adviser for the Freshman Scholars Institute; a member of the varsity lacrosse team; a member of Cottage Club; a peer tutor in Spanish and French; and a member of Aquinas Catholic Campus Ministry. After graduation, he will serve as a Princeton in Latin America fellow.

Brian certainly got the most out of his Princeton experience. Now, a little more than a week after a graduation day that was so nice it should have been moved to the beach, that's more of the big picture than simple wins and losses - no matter how many of each of those any individual on any team at any school had.

When Princeton made its trip to Costa Rica in 2012, Reilly - and Oscar Loynaz, another player - were the team's interpreters, as they were both fluent in Spanish.

TigerBlog remembers how effortlessly Reilly interacted with the Costa Ricans, especially the children that the team encountered. He was equal parts mentor, teacher, businessman, politician, social worker, philanthropist - and TB can see him being successful at any of those as he moves forward with in his life.

And hey, he's already a University trustee.

It's hard to believe that it's been exactly two years this week that Princeton was in Costa Rica. It doesn't seem like that much time has passed, but of course it has.

One of the highlights of the trip to Costa Rica for TigerBlog was the night at the World Cup qualifier between Los Ticos and El Salvador. That game ended up in a 2-2 tie, but it didn't stop Costa Rica from advancing out of the opening round and then grabbing one of the three automatic spots given to CONCACAF.

Back then, the 2014 World Cup seemed so far away. And now these two years have passed, and the tournament begins tomorrow in Brazil.

The World Cup has become one of TigerBlog's absolute favorite sporting events. It took him awhile to get on board with what makes much of the rest of the world stop completely in its tracks, though he's hardly missed a game of the last two.

The 2010 World Cup was tailor-made for Princeton fans, what with alum and former men's soccer coach Bob Bradley in charge of the U.S. team. Bradley took the Americans to a dramatic win in the Group stage, only to be eliminated in heart-breaking fashion by Ghana.

This time, the closest Princeton connection to the World Cup team is again with the Bradley name. Michael Bradley, Bob's son and the nephew of Princeton baseball coach Scott Bradley, is one of the top players for the U.S. team, just as he was in 2010.

The U.S. path to the knockout rounds will not be easy, not with a group that has Portugal, Germany and Ghana, of which two will advance. In case you're not up on your FIFA rankings, Germany is No. 2 in the world and Portugal is No. 4.

The U.S. opens against Ghana Monday. Both teams desperately need to win to have any hope of moving on.

Costa Rica, by the way, plays Uruguay in its first game and is in a group that also has Italy and England. That's hardly an easy road to the knockout rounds either.

So who will win? TigerBlog's picks have been borderline awful of late, though he did correctly pick Duke to win the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament.

He doesn't know enough about international soccer. Jim Barlow, the current men's soccer coach, gave him Belgium as a darkhorse pick. Belgium is ranked 11th in the current rankings.

TigerBlog will go with the defending champ, Spain. There have only been two repeat champions in the history of the World Cup - Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962.

Still, TB will go with the Spanish, who also happen to be the top-ranked team in the world. He sees a Spain-Brazil final.

He'd like to see England do well but doesn't envision the English in the semifinals. He will go with Switzerland, not Belgium, as his darkhorse to get that far. His fourth team? How about Portugal.

He's not even sure if the draw can work out that way, but why not.

Anyway, he's pretty excited about another World Cup.

And congratulations to Brian Reilly.

TB can't guarantee his World Cup choices are perfect, but he can say that the choice of Brian Reilly to the Board of Trustees is.

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