Former Coach Jesse Marsch and I have many things in common. Both of us became apart of the organization at the same time. I became a Season Ticket Holder, as he became the manager.
Marsch began the organization’s transformation to a team focused on homegrown players. Both of us left the club at similar times too. I went to college and he went to Germany. These three and a half years have rapidly changed my perception of American soccer.
Editorial: Jesse’s Revolution, and My Parallel Journey
My days as a soccer fan started when I had the chance to meet the new coach. It was at the infamous first Red Bull Town Hall. I did not know much about Jesse Marsch, so walking into that event, I was surprised.
Throughout the course of the night, and further through the year, I was able to foster relationships with fellow fans. While I was just a 16-year-old first time season ticket holder, others had been with the club since MetroStar days. Being the talkative person I am, I made a case to the new coach, sporting director and GM for what I saw in the club.
When given the chance to speak, I pointed out the coach and asked about the clubs local identity.
“As as young soccer player and fan, who always says that I am a Red Bulls fan when people respond ‘what you like the MLS’ I would like to have a player that has grown up or lived in my shoes. Do you have any players on your list that embody this identity?”
His response at the time came out of his deck of non-answers. However, I soon learned what it meant to him. When I walked out of the event, Marsch wanted to talk with me.
At the time many seemed to not welcome Marsch into the club. I gravitated to his personality and his dream for what the Red Bull organization could achieve. Later in the season, after going through an amazing stretch of games in the summer, the Red Bulls held a second town hall. I re-emphasized my passion for the homegrown player program, pointing out the likes of Miazga and Davis. Again, Marsch gave me the pivot and I decided to speak with him after the event.
The historic 2015 season ended with a Supporters Shield in tow. The offseason led to another encounter between the fans and the front office. Finishing the successful season without the MLS Cup, I felt some angst to get more answers. The night was a much more pleasant one for the front office, and even for the fans.
I commended the coach on such a great season, but needed affirmation for how his plan would get the teams first MLS Cup. The realization kicked in regarding how the team would deal with Homegrown signings and that they would be given significant playing time in coming years. Marsch reaffirmed this, and the night became another part of the team’s history.
That was one of the last times I spoke with Jesse Marsch. From my three short conversations with him, I recognized the visionary he was and how he was going to rapidly change how we viewed the team from players to front office.
It it now one game into the Chris Armas tenure, and I feel the same about Jesse’s Revolution. Without the shift in mentality from Marsch, we would not see the likes of Tyler Adams, Aaron Long and Tim Parker being potential/current USMNT team players. I commend the coach for a great 3.5 years and wish him luck in Leipzig. As both of us move onto new pastures, I hope that in the future we can return to that community both of us appreciated so much.