Jesse Marsch: 5 things to know about RB Leipzig’s new assistant coach
The news that RB Leipzig have appointed Jesse Marsch as assistant coach for the 2018/19 campaign will likely have left many of the club’s followers searching his name for more information. Well worry no more.
As a successful tactician and one already with a firm grounding in Leipzig’s style of play, it is a move that could prove extremely fruitful for the eastern club. Allow bundesliga.com to introduce the 44-year-old American.
1) Former player
Born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1973, Marsch entered the world of professional football via the college system in his homeland, having played for Princeton University. His coach there, a certain Bob Bradley, was later assistant at DC United and was the one who helped his draft into the MLS go through in 1996.
A no-nonsense defensive midfielder, Marsch only played 15 games for the club before following Bradley to the Chicago Fire in in 1998. It was there that he spent the bulk of his career, making 200 appearances in seven years and helping the side lift the MLS Cup (in 1998) and the Supporters’ Shield (2003), while also winning the first of his two international caps in 2001.
Upon leaving the Fire in 2005 he joined – you guessed it – Bradley at Chivas USA, eventually hanging up his boots there in 2009.
2) Coaching record
Having mentored Marsch as a player, it was perhaps only natural that Bradley should do so as a coach too. Already in charge of the senior USA men’s national team, Bradley recruited his younger protégé as his assistant in February 2010. Marsch remained in the role for 18 months but left when Bradley was dismissed in summer 2011.
Following spells in charge of newly created MLS expansion franchise Montreal Impact (2012) and as assistant at his former college team at Princeton, Marsch was named head coach of the New York Red Bulls in January 2015. He appeared tailor-made for the position and led the side to the MLS Supporters Shield in his first season in charge, as well as being named MLS Coach of the Year in 2015.
3) UEFA-certified coach
Not content to rest on his laurels, however, Marsch is approaching the end of a two-year process to obtain his UEFA coaching badges. It speaks both to his ambition and commitment to the cause that he has travelled between New York and Scotland during that period, as he is taking the course through the Scottish FA at the University of Stirling and at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
“Ambitiously I would enjoy the opportunity to test myself at a higher level,” Marsch told Pro Soccer USA in April 2018. “I’m not doing the UEFA course to simply coach in Europe, but obviously that is an ambition of mine.
“I think all of us as players, as people, as coaches, you’re trying to find ways as you move along to get better at what you do. The more that we get exposed to, and the more our eyes are open to high level football thinking and leadership and tactics, it can only lead to better things I think for football in our country.”
4) Coaching style
So what can Leipzig fans expect of the team with Marsch on board? Well, more of the same it seems. “We’ve got a high-press, a high-energy style of play, but it’s not just that; it’s a way of life,” he told msgnetworks of his strategy at the New York Red Bulls. “The more the players take ownership of the team and make it theirs, the better we are.”
Indeed, fostering team spirit and helping his players take responsibility are two fundamental tenets of Marsch’s thinking: “I think building a team consists of the soccer elements: the tactics, the passing and the technique, but that’s only half of it. The other half is creating a mentality, environment and identity of who we are, how we work and how we interact with each other.
I think I actually spend more time on that side of things than I do on the tactics. That’s what I enjoy about being a coach: being a leader and being a mentor, helping everyone understand how to commit to this at the highest level.”
5) Already knows all about Leipzig
Marsch should hit the ground running in Leipzig. In addition to already being a proponent of the existing fast-paced, dynamic football philosophy at Die Roten Bullen, he is also familiar with interim coach Ralf Rangnick and the people behind the scenes.
That’s right, in January 2015 he crossed the Atlantic to spend time at Leipzig and their sister club in Austria, Red Bull Salzburg, even accompanying the teams on their winter training camp to the Middle East. “Sporting director Ali Curtis and head coach Jesse March from the New York Red Bulls are in Doha in order to swap notes with the Leipzig and Salzburg teams,” read a statement on the official Leipzig website at the time. It is safe to say the visit paid off.