November 4, 2015
MY TWO CENTS
Marsch deserves MLS coach of the year, not just being a finalist
By Kristian R. Dyer
Jesse Marsch has quieted all of the Red Bulls' critics, says Kristian R. Dyer, who felt Marsch should be MLS coach of the year. He has taken a team void of superstars and turned them into one of the best in MLS, if not the best.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HANOVER, N.J. – From the outside looking in, Tuesday’s news that Jesse Marsch was nominated for Major League Soccer coach of the year certainly was expected. But the low-key head coach of the Red Bulls is taking it in stride.
In fact, being up for a personal award, he says, is in reality an award for his whole team.
Rewind to January, a time when to say that any person outside of Red Bull Arena thought that Marsch would be here, at this point, is simply not true. He inherited a team that had lost stars such as Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill as well as Jamison Olave this offseason. The organization was in upheaval as he replaced an immensely popular head coach who was a legend among the team’s fans, a point underscored in a contentious town hall with those same fans shortly after Marsch was hired.
That his team, on paper, didn’t appear very good certainly didn’t help his cause. In March when the season started, this didn’t seem like a playoff team. Not even close.
But this season unfolded a bit like a psychedelic dream. A respectable run through the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup followed by wins over Chelsea and Benfica built some steam. First team in the league to qualify for the playoffs. Capturing the Eastern Conference title, thereby securing the Supporters Shield. Capturing the Supporters Shield and now home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Far from being on the firing line, Marsch’s squad is firing back in all the right ways. So when communications director Jason Baum walked into Marsch’s office on Tuesday afternoon, the Red Bulls skipper didn’t expect to hear that he was up for an award.
“He said ‘Congratulations’ and I’m like ‘For what?’ You’ve heard me say this before, the coach of the year award is more a team award than anything,” Marsch said on Wednesday following training. “The fact that our team has done well means that my name gets thrown in the mix. But it’s all about our group and now stepping on the field. Ultimately, the most important award for all of us is MLS Cup.”
And while Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas) and Carl Robinson (Vancouver Whitecaps) have both had tremendous seasons, their resumes for this year pale when compared to Marsch.
Consider that Marsch took over a team in turmoil, a franchise whose fans were calling Red Bull Arena trying to cancel their season tickets. Instead of yelling back, he delicately handled the powder keg of a situation with class.
He then took a team that over the past four-and-a-half seasons had been built around one player and turned them into a group based on the team. “All In. Every Day” Is the banner that hangs over the entrance to the team’s practice field and Marsch changed the way the team had been working over the past few seasons. It was a revolution. Perhaps Jurgen Klinsmann should take note.
That he has done so with one of the lowest budgets in the league is a testament to a head coach who quickly has shown that, when it is all said and done, that he might just go down among the best to ever walk the sidelines in this franchise’s history.
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