May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
Canada Jesse Marsch

Jesse Marsch To Lead Canada Men’s National Team

By on May 13, 2024 0 609 Views

Canada Soccer has confirmed the appointment of Jesse Marsch as the Canada Soccer men’s national team, where he officially succeeds John Herdman and interim head coach Mauro Biello following a worldwide search.

The appointment of Marsch – who has coached at three Red Bull football clubs, CF Montreal, and Leeds United – is effectively immediately, with the new national team boss set to lead the men’s side into the 2024 Copa America on a contract running all the way through to July 2026.

“It is an absolute honour to represent and lead the Canadian Men’s National Team in our preparation for a home World Cup,” says Marsch on his appointment. “The combination of the new leadership inside of Canada Soccer coupled with the potential of this dynamic player pool has inspired me, and I am ready and eager to take on this massive responsibility.”

The announcement of Jesse Marsch looks like a solid pickup for a Canadian national team looking down the barrel at three major tournaments in just as many years. At the same time, Canada Soccer has been beleaguered by significant financial woes and legal disputes, preceding which the men’s national team enjoyed an unprecedent rise in competitive stature that, of course, it’s now his job to maintain.

For those new to Marsch or in need of a refresher, here’s a breakdown of his coaching career so far.

Canada Jesse Marsch
Photo Courtesy: Concacaf

The Full Dossier

Marsch’s first head coach role took place on Canadian soil: after a storied MLS playing career saw him pick up three MLS Cups and four Open Cups, he was named the inaugural CF Montreal head coach after assisting Bob Bradley with the US men’s national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Montreal went on to finish in twelfth place, and after their inaugural MLS season Marsch left the club in what was described as an ‘amicable split. He’d later join the New York Red Bulls, earning coach of the year plaudits at his next MLS stop (a familiar story for CF Montreal) and laying claim to the Supports’ Shield in year one. He remained with them through 2018, and remains the Red Bulls’ most successful manager in club history.

Remaining in the Red Bull pipeline, he transition to Germany to assist at RB Leipzig, he helped the side to a third-place Bundesliga finished and moved on to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, where he helped the team to a back-to-back doubles before he joined Leipzig in 2021, this time in a head coach role. Reaching UEFA Champions League qualification, he left the side for a stint at Premier League side Leeds United, where he avoided relegation but left the side mid-table next season as a fairly disliked figure amongst Leeds supporters.

Now, he’s set for his first head coach role at the national team level, though it’s fair to say he has quite a good blend of North American playing and coaching experience along with high-level European stints, too. All-in-all, he looks a good pickup for Canada on paper.

“Jesse is a transformational leader who will drive progress for our men’s national team – and for Canadian soccer more broadly – as we enter the most important time in the domestic history of our sport,” adds Kevin Blue, who has been quite candid with media, on the hire.

“He’s been a successful manager at the highest levels of global football, helped advance a Concacaf nation out of the group stage at the FIFA World Cup, and is an experienced builder who will make a significant impact on the landscape of our sport. I’m excited to welcome him back to Canada.”

The announcement for the new Canadian men’s national team head coach has a few key points worth looking out for, too:

A New Financial Avenue: MLS Owners Buy-In On ‘Philanthropic Support’

In a first for the organization, the appointment of Jesse Marsch was assisted by philanthropic contributions from all three MLS club owners in the Vancouver Whitecaps, Joey Saputo (CF Montreal), and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (Toronto FC). These undisclosed contributions were described as ‘major’, and while described as philanthropic in nature, the organization will formally title Marsch’s role as ‘MLS Canada Men’s National Team Head Coach’ given the source of the contributions.

That’s a move that sounds out of Kevin Blue’s playbook, with the former Golf Canada CSO having previously stated that he needed to source new revenue streams for the financially-troubled organization. As pointed out in the press release, this style of donor recognition is common at universities and hospitals, NCAA Sports, and recently from Golf Canada with the Stollery Family getting branding on the Women’s national team head coach title.

Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Canadian Premier League Represented In Selection

Canada Soccer has touted that former Canadian internationals Atiba Hutchinson, Rob Friend, and Tosaint Ricketts were not only part of the interview process, but also represented the Canadian Premier League. At press time, a league spokesperson did not get back to us with further context on what that entails. While Friend co-owns two CPL sides in Pacific FC and Vancouver FC, the other two do not and hadn’t ever played in the league.

‘Do You Want To Come And Play?’ Atletico Ottawa Extends Invite To Atiba Hutchison

The head coach hunt saw Canada Soccer utilize the headhunting services of former York United President and CEO Angus McNab, while Canada Soccer states that numerous stakeholders with ties to the men’s national team like Josh Simpson, Julian De Guzman, Tony Fonseca, and Valerio Gazzola were consulted, amongst others.

First Look Next Month

Canadian soccer fans keen to see how Jesse Marsch’s first rodeo with the side unfolds won’t have long to wait, with the men’s national team having locked in friendlies against the Netherlands and France on June 6 and 9, respectively.

Marsh describes himself as being ‘all in for 2026’, though there are some major tournaments to come ahead of that with the 2024 Copa America and the 2025 Gold Cup on the menu, too.

With an American now set to lead Canada as the country’s twentieth men’s national team head coach, there’ll be plenty of eyes watching as the former MLS boss strives to lead Les Rouges to glory in Copa America and Gold Cup action, followed by a 2026 World Cup cup which the country is co-hosting.

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