For months, rumors have swirled around the question of which head coach will lead the U.S. Men’s National Team into the next cycle and ultimately toward the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It appears that question is very close to being answered.
Former Chicago Fire and USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch has been linked with the job ever since he was dismissed by Leeds United in early February, and it is now becoming clear that he will most likely be the man to take over the national team. Not only is he perceived as the clear frontrunner, but sources with knowledge of the situation say that his appointment is “practically done,” and if appointed he could begin after the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.
Marsch, who spent the majority of his career with the Fire and was a part of the team that won the double in the inaugural 1998 season, has built an impressive coaching résumé relative to other American coaches. After guiding New York Red Bulls to two Supporters Shield titles whilst overseeing the development of players such as Tyler Adams and Matt Miazga, he went over to Europe, where he became the first American to coach in the Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg. Following Salzburg, he had spells at RB Leipzig and Premier League Leeds United, who he saved from relegation, but he was fired midway through his first full season.
Currently on the market, Marsch had been linked with numerous Premier League survival jobs, all of which fell through. He was favored to take the Southampton job in February before contract negotiations broke down, and he was also very close to joining Leicester City before that too collapsed. It is a fair assumption that in both cases, he was hesitant to take an offer that wasn’t very good, especially due to the USMNT coaching vacancy. Marsch has, in the past, described it as his “dream job,” but declined to comment when asked about the national team job a few weeks ago.
“I love the US, I love the American mentality, I love our desire to try to be the best in every way,” Marsch said in 2021. “Of course, [the USMNT] project is one that is incredibly interesting.”
As mentioned previously, Marsch is not expected to take over until after the Gold Cup. U.S. Soccer Sporting Director Matt Crocker, who is tasked with hiring the new coach, doesn’t officially start his position full-time until August 2nd, though he has said that the aim is to have a manager in place by the end of the summer. Crocker was at Southampton when they tried to bring Marsch in earlier this year.
Marsch was a guest at the Chicago Fire’s U.S. Open Cup game against St. Louis City last week and spoke to the fans alongside Chris Armas and Logan Pause. He had also been linked with the Chicago Fire head coaching gig following the dismissal of Ezra Hendrickson; Frank Klopas has been named as manager through the end of the season. Though he remains connected to the Fire organization, it appears that he would not be interested in returning to the club at the moment, especially since he is close to reaching his dream job.