HANOVER, N.J. – Before he was the New York Red Bulls coach, Jesse Marsch wanted to be the head coach of Canada’s national team, and he even sent the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) a detailed plan of how to change the program.
Tweets on Tuesday night by Marsch’s agent, Ron Waxman, indicated that his client had interest in Canada’s top job around 2012 after spending one year as head coach of the Montreal Impact. It seemed like an interesting proposition, given that prior to Marsch’s stint at Montreal, his previous two years were spent as an assistant under Bob Bradley with the United States national team. Marsch believed himself to be a strong candidate for the Canada job because he had knowledge of the international level, an understanding of Canadian soccer from his time in Montreal, and he had a long career in MLS, where many of the top Canadians play.
Marsch's letter to the CSA was unsolicited, and the association passed on meeting with him to discuss it. After three interim head coaches, the CSA hired Benito Floro in 2013, who failed to get Canada into the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF.
“I didn’t have a 300-page plan. Those are lengthy,” Marsch said on Wednesday, referencing Red Bulls sporting director Ali Curtis’ famed 300-page plan for the franchise's future.
“I had an interest in the Canada job, but never really had the opportunity to speak with anyone,'' Marsch said. "No hard feelings, and wish them good luck. After I left Montreal, I was kind of in a position where I had been up there a couple years, gotten to know that country and the way they approach football, and the talents that were available. I thought it would have been a natural fit to coach that national team. I was pretty inexperienced still and hadn’t established myself yet. I understood why they decided to go in another direction.”
Last season, Marsch was named MLS Coach of the Year.
On Tuesday night, Canada beat El Salvador 3-1 but failed to advance to the hexagonal round in World Cup qualifying. The men’s national team hasn’t made a World Cup since 1986.
“I think there’s still talent there in Canada. There’s Quebec, there’s Ontario, and then there’s Western Canada. Having the ability to combine those three areas under one roof in a way where everybody is pulling in the same direction – it’s a challenge up there, I think, a little bit,” Marsch said.
“With MLS academies, with some of the international players, with some players having [dual] citizenship coming into the national team, there is potential for that to grow bigger and bigger.”
Former Canadian national team captain Jason deVos was recently announced director of development for the CSA, a newly created position.