When news broke earlier this week that Jesse Marsch is departing Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg to become RB Leipzig’s manager for the 2021-22 Bundesliga season, it served as a landmark moment for American soccer.
That’s at least the perspective David Gass offered on Extratime, while acknowledging that LAFC manager Bob Bradley helped open the door during his previous European stops at Stabæk (Norway’s Eliteserien), Le Havre (France’s Ligue 2) and Swansea City (Premier League). Of course, the 47-year-old Marsch also played under Bradley collegiately and professionally, then worked alongside him as a US men’s national team assistant coach.
As inextricably linked as their paths are, Gass feels that Marsch’s latest step could open the door for American managers overseas.
“At this point, we’ve reached a spot where now Americans are going to get opportunities,” Gass said. “Bob was unique and I think Jesse is unique because of the Red Bull connection. But now it feels like the floodgates have opened and other guys are going to get that chance. I think it’s fitting that Bob and his coaching tree is the one that’s kind of led to this.”
During his MLS coaching career, Marsch led both CF Montréal and the New York Red Bulls. He steered RBNY to the Supporters’ Shield in 2015 and then departed for Salzburg in 2018, subsequently winning the Austrian double (league & cup) a season ago.
Marsch is charged with following in the footsteps of Julian Nagelsmann following the German coach's departure for Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. Marsch wll inherit a squad that’s chasing Bayern for Germany’s top spot and made the Champions League semifinals in 2019-20.
ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez stressed how monumental this moment is for American coaches, claiming it extends beyond Sergino Dest’s move to FC Barcelona amid a growing USMNT presence at top European clubs.
Now, it’s about seeing what heights Marsch can reach during his this RB Leipzig chapter. He’s set to reunite with former RBNY midfielder Tyler Adams, too, and organize a high-quality side that can challenge for silverware on several fronts.
“I think Jesse Marsch is ready for the opportunity,” Charlie Davies said on Extratime. “It didn't come too soon, it’s not too big of a move. I think it’s the right next step and he’s in the same system, so he’s going to have the support. He’s going to have the financial support to go and sign players he needs, he’ll probably bring some Salzburg players, whether it’s now or later down the line."
For more about Marsch and other MLS topics, check out the latest Extratime episode here.