Jesse Marsch on running for USMNT job: 'I wasn't treated very well during the process'

New Canadian head coach Jesse Marsch reflected on the process he went through a year ago while applying for the U.S. men's national team, saying he “wasn't treated very well” by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Marsch was a candidate for the USMNT job when it was vacant last year, although the federation ultimately opted to rehire Gregg Berhalter after he led the team at the 2022 World Cup. He did not elaborate, but was curt when discussing his interactions with those responsible for the hiring process.

“Obviously growing up in the US and contributing and playing for the national team, playing for the youth national teams, coaching at the World Cup with the US national team, my respect for US football is great,” he said in the last episode of Call it whatever you want, a CBS Sports Golazo Network podcast. “But I went through a process with them, right? And I'm not going to get into it, but I wasn't treated very well in the process and whatever, man. That's in the past now and I'm completely focused.” From the moment it was done, I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to move on and I'm going to figure out what's right for me,' and again, it motivated me again to find the right people.

Marsch emphasized that the ideas and people at the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) matched his ideas for the course. That's why he finally said yes after more than a year without a coaching role.

For all the latest news on the USMNT and the state of the American game, look no further than the Call It What You Want podcast! Download and follow Call It What You Want Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts!

“Kevin Blue [the CSA CEO and general secretary] comes from college athletics and the recruiting job he did to get me here was second to none,” Marsch said.” I've never felt more wanted, desired, and more appreciated, right? And finally, when it came time to finalize my contract, he did it in two days, right? This man has a plan, he knows how to execute it and he knows how to get it done. In this sport you can't underestimate the value of execution, right, because everyone talks about how they want to do things and dream big, but at the end of the day it's all about execution and I believe he and I are going to make a formidable team.”

The coach's dissatisfaction with US Soccer also resembles his feelings about several teams. Marsch suggested he has turned down several jobs over the past year and changed because it didn't feel like the right fit, sometimes even at the highest levels of the game.

“It's almost like the higher I went, the more disappointed I was with the way things worked,” said the former Leeds United manager. “People think Leeds is such a big club, but you pull back the veil. We were a club that was in disarray when I got there, a complete financial mess, and that made managing everything very difficult, but I decided to take that over and I tried to make the best of it.”

His recent experiences made him very conscious about the job he ultimately took on.

“I don't have to work,” Marsch said. “I love working, but because I love working, I think I have to protect the ways in which I think about how to work and who to work with. And again, this led me down this path with Canada, which I felt like the people were great and the ability to actually work and influence things is what inspired me, and the people to do it with.

Rivalry with the USMNT

Marsch joins Canada as they ramp up preparations for the 2026 World Cup, a tournament they will co-host with the US and Mexico. The head coach admitted he is excited about the pool of players, which includes Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies and Lille's Jonathan David. It may be the most promising group of talent the Canadian men's team has ever had, but Marsch realized they had to prove themselves at the continental level – and against regional rivals like the USMNT.

“The US is kind of the benchmark in Concacaf right now,” Marsch said. “With the player pool they have and the players they have played at big clubs and the success they have had over the years, the sport has really developed in the US, which we should all be very proud of.

“Who knows? I'm sure we'll play the US a few more times before the World Cup starts, so I'm looking forward to those games. I think the familiarity with the stuff brings out the competitive juices and certainly — look, the Canadian team has been measuring itself against the US for years and that's not going to stop now or get any bigger just because I'm here I think we want to, you know, generally follow this program and continue to establish it .”

However, Marsch believes his task is bigger than just toppling the USMNT in regional battles. He hopes to further the advancement of soccer in Canada, where he believes there is still untapped potential.

“For the most part, I felt that being part of this program allowed me to not only think about how I could have the most impact on the first team, but also on the sport in the country. I think there is a more holistic view for me. the head coach of the Canadian national team would just say, “What are the wins and losses?” he said. “Of course I always know I will be judged on those things and the success of the first team at the 2026 World Cup will be the most important thing for me, but there is so much more than can be done in Canada to help.” the sport continues to grow and I really want to make a positive impact in that way.”

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