Red Bulls’ Marsch Skips Out Early, Heads to Europe

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By JACK BELL

Red Bulls logoNo, Jesse Marsch was not taking an early, provocative victory lap along the touchline at Talen Energy Park on Sunday as his New York Red Bulls were about to wrap up a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.

Yes, Marsch, 43, was high-tailing it to a car that was waiting outside the stadium in Chester, Pa., for a drive to John F. Kennedy International Airport and a flight to Poland. That’s where the Red Bulls’ coach will be for most of the week, ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Hudson River Derby against NYCFC, as he continues his pursuit of a UEFA coaching license. Graduation would enable Marsch to coach in top-flight leagues in Europe, either under the umbrella of Red Bull teams or otherwise. Earlier this year Marsch decamped for Scotland to begin the process that will not be completed until the middle of 2018.

Before Sunday’s game, a 2-0 victory on a pair of late goals by Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Red Bulls released a statement:

“New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch will travel to Poland following Sunday’s match against the Philadelphia Union for another session in the UEFA Pro License Course.

Red Bulls first assistant Chris Armas will lead sessions while Marsch is away.

Marsch will return for Saturday’s New York Derby match against New York City FC.”

Marsch left Armas in charge of the final minutes on Sunday after the Long Island native (the only undefeated coach in club history!) guided New York to a victory over NYCFC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Marsch was suspended for that match.

Asked after the game against Philadelphia how he was dealing with Marsch’s sabbatical, Armas laughed and said:

“I was thinking ‘ahh do not mess this up.’  I think we had a good handle on the game from there and I did not really think too much about it. We knew beforehand that might be the case and there is always dialogue going of what the final minutes will look like and we had some good talk going into it, how to manage the end of the game if we would need to push the game or close it out. It felt very comfortable.

“Jesse will be back toward the end of the week. We have talked in detail about what the week would look like and we have a typical schedule that we go do and the good thing is, we are playing an opponent next weekend that we just played, so we know the preparation is almost to repeat what we just went through last week.So we are off for a couple days, we had a long week this week, two games in a week we have a good plan going into New York. Right now it is about enjoying this win and stay with a good mentality and get ready physically and mentally for what is ahead.”

In January, Marsch and the Red Bulls dealt with reports that he was headed for a job with Red Bull Salzburg after he made a trip to Europe to spend time with the organization’s two Europe-based teams, in Austria and Leipzig of Germany.

“Since the New Year I haven’t been in Salzburg, I’ve been in Portugal with Leipzig,” Marsch said after he skipped the MLS Combine in Florida. “There’s been no contact with Salzburg. I was there before Christmas just to spend time with both clubs and watch what’s going on there, but I’m the New York Red Bulls coach.”

Marsch, a Princeton graduate, is among a group of highly regarded, young Americans in the coaching ranks of MLS. With the global reach of Red Bull it would not be a stretch to imagine him one day moving across the Atlantic Ocean. But any move would require a UEFA coaching license, a piece of paper held by only a handful of Americans. Marsch is also taking the course that would yield a top license from US Soccer.

So is he headed to Europe? Or would he one day jump at the opportunity to coach the U.S. men’s national team? Looks like the opportunities abound.