It was announced last month that former New York Red Bulls manager and current RB Leipzig assistant Jesse Marsch will take the head job at Red Bull Salzburg next season.
Back in the US, this was greeted as great news for how coaches are viewed overseas. It does not take long for one to count the number of American coaches working in Europe.
Currently, Joe Enochs is in the German third division with FC Zwickau. Steve Cherundolo is working as an assistant at VfB Stuttgart.
David Wagner was previously with Huddersfield Town and will be taking over at German giants Schalke next season.
Previously, Bob Bradley managed teams in Norway and France, before moving to Swansea City while they were in the Premier League.
Finally, current US Men’s National Team manager Greg Berhalter got his managerial start in Sweden with Hammarby IF.
However, Marsch’s career path doesn’t tend to follow any of those others.
Those managers either started in Europe or after getting a job in MLS, moved into the US National Team manager job before then crossing the pond. So in many ways, Jesse Marsch is a coaching pioneer for American football.
Marsch got his start in MLS as the manager of Montreal Impact for their inaugural season back in 2012.
He resigned after that lone season and continued working as an assistant until 2015 when he took the top job with the New York Red Bulls.
In that first season, he guided the Red Bulls to their second ever Supporters Shield, no small feat considering the side saw such illustrious players as Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill leave the club shortly before Marsch arrived.
Marsch was named MLS coach of the year in 2015 and the club won another Supporters Shield two years later, but again came undone in the playoffs.
Despite all the success in the league, the side never reached MLS Final with Marsch at the helm.
He resigned from the Red Bulls in July 2018 to become an assistant at RB Leipzig.
The situation in Austria
Marsch will be replacing Marco Rose, who has guided Salzburg for the last two seasons.
Last season Salzburg won the League and this season they have completed the domestic double after winning the Austrian Cup on May 1, and the league with two matches to spare.
The job can also become a stepping stone to bigger things; Rose is leaving Salzburg for the same role at Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany.
At the same time Oliver Glasner, who got LASK Linz promoted to the Bundesliga last season, continued that success by guiding the club to a second place finish.
He will also be moving on to Germany as the next manager of VfL Wolfsburg so being successful in Austria will get you on the radar for bigger jobs.
For Salzburg, the goal has always been the Champions League, and they have been always coming up short in that goal.
In the past, Austria hasn’t had an automatic qualifier spot for the Group Stages of the Champions League and so Salzburg has had to go through the qualifying stages.
This route has been nothing but a road filled with angst and frustration for the club.
In their last eight Champions League campaigns, RB Salzburg has been eliminated at the final hurdle on five occasions.
To date, despite all of the investment and infrastructure that has been created at the club, they have yet to reach the Champions League Group Stages.
However, by winning the Bundesliga this season, RB Salzburg will bypass the qualifiers altogether.
With both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for next year’s Champions League by finishing in the top four of this season’s Premier League, Salzburg will automatically begin their European campaign in the group stages of the continent’s most prestigious competition.
Certainly a nice first managerial job in Europe for Marsch.
There will be some changes to the Salzburg squad for Marsch to work with next season and Munas Dabbur will easily be the most significant departure for the club.
Dabbur has been with Salzburg since 2016, scoring 70 goals and assisting 30 others in 126 appearances. Back in January, he signed an agreement with Spanish side Sevilla and will join the side this summer for a €15 million fee.
This season has been just as impressive, with the Israeli international scoring 35 goals, at a rate of 1 goal every 100 minutes.
Also leaving the club so far this summer will be attacking midfielder Hannes Wolf.
The 20-year-old will complete his second season with Salzburg later this month and then move to sibling club RB Leipzig for €12 million.
This season Wolf has scored 9 times and assisted 11 others.
Much about how Salzburg will line up under Marsch remains a mystery.
Besides some key players leaving the club this summer, little is known about how the American will set up his side.
According to Transfermarkt, Marsch used a variety of formations in MLS. Initially, he started with a 4-2-3-1 but through his 152 matches with New York Red Bulls.
But he also used a 3-4-3 and a 4-2-2-2, before settling into a 4-3-3 as his time with the club came to an end.
This current season Salzburg played primarily in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
However, with Wolf leaving and there are no other attacking midfielders on the roster, it’s hard to envision that continuing next season.
There is much to be excited about for fans of both Red Bull Salzburg and American soccer next season.
With the club set to participate in the Champions League group stage for the first time, it will be interesting to see how Jesse Marsch fares against some of the top sides in Europe.
In addition to that, expectations will remain for the club to win domestic silverware.
Given all of the support that Red Bull provides the club, a close eye will be kept on in his first opportunity as the manager of a European club.