Jesse Marsch: six things you need to know about the favourite to take over at Leeds

Marsch
(Image credit: Getty)

Former RB Leipzig coach Jesse Marsch is the frontrunner to succeed Marcelo Bielsa after parted ways with Leeds United coach on Sunday following their 4-0 drubbing to Tottenham.

But is the American coach be the right man to lead Leeds out of trouble? Here are six things you need to know about the potential next manager at Elland Road.

An Ivy League student

Marsch's path into football was unlike that of most Premier League coaches as he cut his teeth in the game not at a club academy but at one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Marsch, who grew up in Wisconsin, went to Princeton, which is part of the Ivy League of the top eight U.S colleges. He excelled at football (although they call it soccer over there) and in 1995 became an All-American, being named among the top 11 players in college soccer.

Spent his whole playing career in the MLS

At Princeton he played under future USA coach Bob Bradley, who soon moved to MLS side DC United as assistant coach and drafted a young Marsch.

Marsch spent two seasons at DC United before following Bradley to fellow MLS side Chicago Fire, eventually seeing out his playing career with Chivas USA, who were also coached by Bradley.

While at Chivas he had an angry on-pitch spat with David Beckham in a local derby against the LA Galaxy.

Marsch made two appearances for the US national team and was under no illusions about the limits of his game.

"I was not the most talented guy but I was always a strong presence in the team," he told Sky Sports in 2020.

Worked at the World Cup and named coach of the year

As soon as he finished playing he moved into coaching, yet again under the guidance of Bradley, who said he could tell long before that Marsch had what it took to be a top-quality coach.

Marsch's first gig was to join Bradley as assistant coach for the USA and he was part of the coaching staff at the 2010 World Cup, where the team pulled off a shock 1-1 draw with England and finished top of Group C before being knocked out by Ghana.

He went out on his own path after Bradley was fired by the US in 2011 and took his first head coaching role with new MLS side Montreal Impact, where he spent one season.

Marsch then joined New York Red Bulls and was named coach of the year in 2015 as his side recorded the best regular season record in the MLS with a side containing Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Rangnick's assistant at Leipzig

His success in New York led Marsch to cross the Atlantic in 2018 and join sister club RB Leipzig to work alongside head coach and future Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

It might have seemed an unlikely partnership for Marsch, who recalled having  what he thought was an argument with Rangnick on his job interview with New York Red Bulls about his footballing ideas.

He was later told Rangnick 'loved' their conversation. 

"We talked a lot about counter pressing, playing in transition," Marsch told The Coaches Voice.

"Getting to know him really introduced a lot of details and deeper thinking into the way I think about football."

It proved a winning partnership as Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga to return to the Champions League and also reached the German Cup final for the first time, losing to Bayern Munich.

Helping Haaland to stardom..and THAT team talk

Marsch's success with Rangnick led to him getting another job with a Red Bull franchise and he was named head coach at FC Salzburg in 2019.

He was a roaring success, winning a league and cup double in each season. He also got to work with Erling Haaland, albeit only briefly, witnessing first hand the Norwegian's precocious goalscoring talent.

Haaland scored 16 goals in 14 Austrian Bundesliga games under Marsch and also proved his pedigree in the Champions League, netting eight times in six matches before joining Borussia Dortmund.

That season Marsch became the first American to coach a team in the Champions League.

His spell in the competition was also English football's first introduction to Marsch as he oversaw a thriller against Liverpool and delivered an incredible expletive-ridden half-time team-talk when his side were 3-0 down.

"How many fouls have we got? How many? Maybe two? This is not a f**king friendly! This is a f**king Champions League match! We need to step up," he said, peppering his German with the odd English word.

"They have to feel us, guys. They have to know we're f**king here to compete."

The talk, released after the game, certainly had the desired effect as his side hauled themselves back to make it 3-3 with goals from Takumi Minamino, Hwang Hee-chan and Haaland before a late Mohamed Salah strike rescued three points.

His biggest job yet but an early exit

Marsch's reward for his trophy-laden spell with Salzburg was to be named as head coach back at Leipzig after Julian Nagelsmann took over at Bayern.

But things did not go well for him as Leipzig made a dismal start to the Bundesliga season after finishing second the previous campaign.

He left the club by mutual consent in December with a record of just five wins in 14 league games.

His side were also knocked out of the Champions League but, in fairness to March, they were put in a daunting group with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1