Jesse Marsch named Canada coach as Copa América, World Cup loom

Jesse Marsch - Canada - coach hiring

Jesse Marsch has been named head coach of the Canadian men’s national team, the federation announced Monday. Marsch, who previously led MLS sides CF Montréal and New York Red Bulls, has taken over with immediate effect.

The appointment comes at a pivotal time, with Canada set to open the 2024 Copa América on June 20 against Inter Miami CF superstar Lionel Messi and Argentina. They’ll also co-host the expanded 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside the United States and Mexico (all three countries auto-qualify).

Before entering Copa América, Marsch will steer the CanMNT in friendlies against FIFA-ranked top-10 opponents Netherlands (June 6) and France (June 9).

“It is an absolute honor to represent and lead the Canadian men’s national team in our preparation for a home World Cup,” Marsch, who most recently led Leeds United in the English Premier League, said in a release.

“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.

“My excitement and anticipation to get started are immense. One of my main goals will be to help unite the soccer community in Canada to support our efforts to be successful on and off the pitch. All In for 2026.”

New leader

Canada were previously led by John Herdman, who departed last fall to become Toronto FC’s head coach. Mauro Biello, also a former Montréal manager, was serving as CanMNT interim coach.

Canada are looking to build off their appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The program qualified as Concacaf’s first-place team, returning to the sport’s biggest stage for the first time in 36 years. However, they went three-and-out in a group that featured Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.

“After extensive consultation with expert stakeholders and a rigorous search process, I am delighted to make today’s announcement,” said Kevin Blue, CEO & general secretary of Canada Soccer.

“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.

“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.”

MLS roots

Marsch’s playing career spanned 14 seasons in MLS across D.C. United, Chicago Fire FC and Chivas USA. He won three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and four US Open Cups.

His coaching career began as a USMNT assistant coach alongside Bob Bradley at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, followed by time at Montréal and New York. He was named MLS Coach of the Year in 2015 and helped the Red Bulls capture two Supporters’ Shields.

Marsch departed MLS in 2018 to become an assistant coach at German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, leading to a trophy-filled post at sister side Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. He then took over Leeds United in February 2022, helping them avoid relegation before being dismissed one year later.

Marsch’s hiring is assisted by major philanthropic contributions from owners of the three Canadian-based MLS clubs and supplemented by other private donors. In recognition of their support, Marsch’s position will be formally titled the MLS Canada men’s national team head coach during the term of his initial contract.