The American contingent in European soccer may not be as glamorous as the likes of other countries, but the talent level of both players and coaches is continuing to grow each season.
Red Bull Salzburg manager and former U.S. Men’s National Team player Jesse Marsch is one of many Americans aiming to earn the respect of his counterparts with the number growing each year. Marsch excelled in his first season coaching abroad, leading Salzburg to a domestic double and impressive showings in the UEFA Champions League.
The former New York Red Bulls head coach is one of three American coaches currently leading first division sides in Europe and is aiming to help change the overall perspective of Americans abroad as a whole.
“I know that the pedigree of the American player and the American coach isn’t at the highest level here in Europe,” Marsch said in the latest episode of the Coaches Clubhouse podcast. “But I know that everyone over here is working as hard as they can to earn that respect every day and almost prove everybody wrong and help us step-by-step as Americans here in Europe in this massive sport to establish ourselves.”
Marsch is joined by Pellegrino Matarazzo and David Wagner as the only three American coaches in first division European Soccer, with the latter managing at Stuttgart and Schalke respectively. Despite the coaching numbers being small, the amount of players who continue to make the jump abroad is exciting for USMNT fans and fellow players alike.
Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, and Zack Steffen all play for top clubs in Europe while additional players such as DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks, and Timothy Weah are also making their names abroad. The list is likely to continue growing with more and more American players leaving the United States at a young age to test themselves in the top professional leagues in the world.
Marsch is making the most of the opportunity in Austria and is aiming to help continue the movement and goals set of being the best that the United States has to offer.
“For the American player over there, and certainly the American coach because it’s such a new theme, we’re very undervalued and under-respected,” Marsch said, “but that’s almost an area that Americans can thrive in, this idea that we can be the best, and it doesn’t matter what anyone says and we’re going to work as hard as we can because our self-belief and our grit is so strong.”
Reggie Cannon and Zach Booth are just two recent additions to European clubs while Tobin Heath and Christen Press joined USWNT teammates Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis in the top women’s professional league in England. As the professional game continues to grow in the United States, its likely that more and more players will make the jump to Europe in order to reach their individual goals of playing for top European clubs.
For now though, the American contingent is putting itself up there with more and more talent expected to come through the ranks.