Leeds United fires Jesse Marsch, fueling speculation he may lead USMNT

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By Amit


Jesse Marsch was fired Monday by Leeds United, less than a year after he became the second U.S.-born head coach of a Premier League club.

The move will no doubt fuel speculation about Marsch becoming a candidate to guide the U.S. men’s national soccer team, whose head coaching position has been vacant since Dec. 31, when Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired. World Cup assistant Anthony Hudson is the interim coach.

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s process for hiring a long-term replacement is stalled after sporting director Earnie Stewart announced last month that he is taking a job with PSV Eindhoven in his native Netherlands. The next sporting director will spearhead the search for a coach, USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone said last month.

Berhalter remains a candidate, pending an investigation into an incident in which he abused his future wife more than 31 years ago. Parlow Cone suggested the search for a sporting director and coach could run into the summer.

Hudson is slated to oversee two Concacaf Nations League matches late next month and could end up guiding the squad this summer in the Gold Cup, the region’s biennial championship.

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Coming off an appearance in the World Cup’s round of 16 this fall in Qatar, the U.S. program has started a four-year cycle that will culminate with the 2026 World Cup being held in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

It’s unclear whether Marsch would like to return stateside or pursue another job in Europe.

Leeds’s decision to sack Marsch comes amid a seven-match winless streak in league play and with the club, which features three U.S. national team players, sitting in 17th place on the 20-team circuit, just above the relegation zone. Last year, after taking the job with 2½ months left in the season, the Wisconsin-born Marsch rescued Leeds from possible relegation with a victory over Brentford on the last day of the campaign.

Since retiring as a player in 2010, Marsch, 49, has built a deep coaching portfolio: a year as a U.S. assistant; a year with MLS expansion Montreal; 3½ years with the New York Red Bulls (where he won the Supporters’ Shield twice); two highly successful seasons with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria; and a five-month stint with RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga.

With Leeds, Marsch followed in the American footsteps of Bob Bradley (Swansea City, 2016) and German-born former U.S. national team player David Wagner (Huddersfield Town, 2018-19) in guiding a Premier League club. Marsch, a Princeton graduate, began his 14-year pro playing career with D.C. United in 1996-97.

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Marsch became a popular figure at Leeds because of his proactive playing style and engaging personality. He went 4-5-3 down the 2021-22 stretch and was hailed for helping the club remain in the Premier League.

This season, though, after two victories and a draw in the first three matches, the club plunged down the standings. Aside from a 2-1 victory at Liverpool in October and advancing to the FA Cup’s fifth round, Leeds has struggled to find its form.

Marsch’s final game was Sunday, a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. Leeds is 4-10-6 with 18 points, level with Everton but ahead on goal differential. Bournemouth (17) and Southampton (15) are at the bottom of the league, which will lose three clubs to relegation.

Marsch’s ouster comes after Leeds management sought to boost its fortunes during the winter transfer window by signing four players, including U.S. midfielder Weston McKennie from Italian titan Juventus. McKennie reunited with World Cup teammates Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson.

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