Every New York Red Bulls fan knew it was coming, but that didn’t make the announcement any easier.

After quite a bit of speculation over the past few weeks, it was confirmed that manager Jesse Marsch would be moving on to Europe and a new role with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. While it is a risky and uncertain path, it is a decision that the 44-year-old coach felt that he had to make.

The future ahead for Jesse Marsch in Europe

Due to both departing New York at roughly the same time this summer, comparisons to departing NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira are unavoidable. Vieira took the manager role at Ligue 1 side OGC Nice. However, Vieira’s situation was a bit different.

A World Cup winner for France, his presence and star power is something quite special in his home country. For Marsch, it was not necessarily the same type of transition. 

After a career playing in Major League Soccer, an assistant role with the US national team and a year at the helm with the Montreal Impact led him to Red Bull Arena in 2015. Since that appointment, Marsch helped to establish the Red Bulls as a perennial playoff contender and captured a Supporters’ Shield title in his first campaign.

Evolving from a squad perhaps too dependent on key individuals (such as Thierry Henry), New York have utilized a system that can overwhelm the opposition, all while building fantastic depth. The club’s academy continues to produce talent, and their high-press strategy lives in Europe also.

Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig play this way, and it is that very reason Marsch became the front runner for his new assistant manager role in Germany. During the past few MLS seasons, Marsch has displayed how he can find success within the system, along with a desire to achieve more. Europe was always a target for him, and for an American coach that is a difficult road to navigate.

Bob Bradley had stops in Norway and France, followed by a disastrous run with Swansea City in 2016. Current Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter spent two years with Hammarby in Sweden, while former USMNT striker David Wagner readies for another season in the English Premier League with Huddersfield Town. Only a handful of others have guided European sides before. 

Marsch is fully aware of these challenges, but has chosen wisely in this sense. He is now amongst familiar faces in Leipzig, including Ralf Rangnick (who will make way for Julian Nagelsmann after this coming season) and CEO Oliver Mintzlaff. Both involved themselves at various points during Marsch’s time in New York, and know what it will take to succeed in the Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig’s remarkable rise up the German football pyramid has seen many highs and lows, with the UEFA Europa League on the horizon in 2018-19. Marsch will get a unique opportunity to gain critical experience in his new surroundings, and will undoubtedly see more chances at managerial positions in the near future.

For American managers in Europe, sometimes you must crawl before you can walk. If his time with the New York Red Bulls is any indication, Jesse Marsch will be running forward soon on his new journey.

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