[MLS] As a player, his gritty approach to the game didn’t win many style points, but Jesse Marsch’s effort and spirit were never questioned.
Named Wednesday as new head coach of the Montreal Impact, which joins MLS next season, Marsch moves on from a one and a half-year stint as assistant coach of the U.S. national team under Bob Bradley, for whom he played during Bradley’s coaching stints at D.C. United (as an assistant), Chicago and Chivas USA (both as head coach).
Club president Joey Saputo said, “Jesse Marsch is a hard-working coach, who will bring passion and energy to our club. He has the knowledge and experience having worked at the highest level in North America.”
Marsch, 37, was one of two domestic finalists in late 2009 for the Chicago head coaching job, which eventually went to Carlos de los Cobos. He had retired in 2009 after playing 14 seasons in MLS, during which he played 321 games, scored 31 goals, and won three MLS Cups. He earned two caps for the USA.
“Montreal is a vibrant, multicultural city,” he said at a press conference announcing his hiring. “A soccer city. We want to create something unique and put [out] a team that the fans can be proud of. There are good soccer people in this organization, this is a great opportunity to build something special. My time in the MLS and with the U.S. national team exposed me to this game at the highest level. We will be committed to the process of becoming a winning team.”
Marsch played on the first three league championship teams, starting with D.C. United in 1996 and 1997 and then with the Fire, coached by Bradley, in 1998. He is one of three players to play in each of the league’s first 14 seasons.
“In 1998, I was part of the Chicago expansion team that won the MLS Cup, but it was my hardest season,” said Marsch, who signed a three-year contract. “We need to be prepared and mentally strong for a 10-month season.”
Marsch will officially take command once the NASL season is finished to direct Montreal’s ramping-up for its first MLS season. Sporting director Nick De Santis, who led the coaching search that led to Marsch, has been working as the Impact’s interim head coach following the firing of Marc dos Santos in late June.
The Impact had only three wins in its first 19 games in the NASL.