Canadian soccer’s industry insiders are excited for new coach Jesse Marsch

May 14, 2024 | Sports

Monday’s appointment of Jesse Marsch as the new Canadian men’s national team has left Canadian soccer fans with a sense of optimism and an overall good feeling about the state of the team moving forward.

The appointment of Marsch ended the search for a new manager that began in August 2023, after John Herdman stepped down as manager to take on the head coaching role for Toronto F.C. in Major League Soccer (MLS).

Canada Soccer CEO Kevin Blue shared his excitement in the appointing and where Marsch could take the team as they move forward towards the North American hosted 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“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,” Blue said via an official press release from Canada Soccer.

And Blue’s excitement is also felt by many Canadian Soccer supporters like Mike Hudson.

Hudson is not only a supporter but someone who has been involved with Canadian Soccer at nearly every level, from community level coaching, all the way to the National Training Centre with the Canadian National Program.

Hudson was also the technical director of two provincial soccer programs, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia and coached at the University of Regina and St. Mary’s University in Halifax.

He said that he was pleased to hear that Marsch’s name was being considered for the job and said he was a good appointment for the managerial role.

“The general consensus is that this is a relatively smart hire by the CSA,” Hudson said.

He said that Marsch has the right background to succeed at Canada Soccer.

Marsch managed the New York Red Bulls and CF Montreal in the MLS, as well as RB Salzburg of the Austrian Bundesliga, RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga in Germany, and most noticeably Leeds United in the Premier League in England, where he last managed after being let go in February 2023.

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“He was successful in the MLS, especially with New York” Hudson said. “He was successful at Leipzig.”

“He’s obviously not a name like Frank Lampard, but he’s still someone [that] people in football know,” Hudson said, when discussing some other rumored names like former Chelsea star and the manager Frank Lampard.

“He’s going to have a pretty good perspective from both sides of the pond,” he said.

Hudson along with fellow Canada Soccer supporter Daniel Czarny feel that Marsch is the highest profile coach Canada Soccer may have ever hired.

“People who follow European soccer are well aware of teams like Leeds, the history behind teams like Leeds, Leipzig and Salzburg,” Czarny said. “These are pretty major teams that have pretty major fanbases.”

Czarny also said Marsch’s style of play compliments the key players of Canada’s men’s national better than other managers in the past, including Herdman.

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“Marsch enjoys high tempo, fast paced and aggressively pressing,” he said. “Which in my opinion perfectly compliments two of our big speedsters like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.”

Despite the benefits Canada’s strong forwards like Davies, David and Tajon Buchanan bring, Hudson said that Marsch may need to focus on changing his tactics when going up against very high profile teams in the near future.

He said that with parity of teams Marsch faced in the MLS and the strength of teams he’ managed like Leipzig, Marsch has not had to adapt his aggressive high pace style.

But he said upcoming friendlies against world class nations like France and the Netherlands, and matchups Copa America, such as with reigning World Cup champions Argentina in June, Marsch may need to switch things up tactically considering Canada won’t be favourites like he said Marsch has been used to with his squads.

Canada Soccer will participate in the 2024 Copa America at the end of June ahead of their 2026 co-hosting of the FIFA World Cup.

Canada Soccer will participate in the 2024 Copa America at the end of June ahead of their 2026 co-hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Photo credit: Caleb Moody

“He’s got a lot of experience so I think he’s going to be able to adapt,” Hudson said.

“I’m pleased that they brought him in now and didn’t wait until after the summer,” he said. “[This] puts a number of games under his belt in 2024 in preparation for 2026.”

“He should be thinking about building towards 2026.” Hudson said.