Ivy League doctoral student and pro soccer player is a combination you’d probably be hard pressed to find anywhere in the modern game, but Ian Hennessy had his feet both in professional soccer and in a laboratory at Columbia University when Major League Soccer kicked off its inaugural season in 1996.
The University of Delaware men’s soccer head coach, who also serves as technical director for Delaware FC and a scout for U.S. Soccer, was an MLS original and took part in the very first New York City Fashion Week jersey event.
He wasn’t wearing a jersey he’d ever wear in a game — he made eight appearances for the MetroStars in his one MLS season — but even as a stand-in that day he can still stake his claim on history in a league that is coming up on its 25th season.
You can spot Ian on the far left wearing a Dallas Burn kit below.
1996 MLS Jersey Launch Event pic.twitter.com/OMIZ9Bixwh— Footy Headlines (@Footy_Headlines) January 17, 2020
Hennessy talked about his first season in MLS and his decision to ultimately spend his post-playing career not in a laboratory but on the sidelines in a recent interview for The Path Soccer Podcast.
I spoke to him after a Philadelphia Union training session at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, where a former youth (Anthony Fontana) and college (Union II goalkeeper Todd Morton) player he coached had both been training, in a facility where the general manager (Steve Cavalier) is also someone he coached in college.