Jesse Marsch guiding Canada’s Copa America run after USMNT snub

The contrast is stark.

As Jesse Marsch, an American manager who has coached at the top levels in England, Germany and Austria, gets set to lead Canada to the 2024 Copa America semifinal, the United States Men’s Soccer Team is completely uncertain about its own direction.

Marsch, in his first major tournament with Canada after the team hired him as its head coach in May, has helped guide somewhat of a Cinderella-esque run in the Copa America — Canada’s first-ever campaign in the tournament.

They’re set to take on Argentina — FIFA’s top-ranked team in the world and the defending World Cup champions — in the semifinal Tuesday night at MetLife Stadium.

Jesse Marsch and Canada face Argentina on Tuesday in the Copa America semifinals. Getty Images

“I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need all the other bulls–t,” Marsch said after Canada’s practice at MetLife Stadium on Monday. “I want to do things I want to do. I want to get back to loving the game that I love, and this team has helped me find that, and I’m very thankful for that.”

After Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired as the USMNT’s manager in December 2022, Marsch interviewed for the vacant head-coaching job before the team eventually ended up bringing Berhalter back on a new contract.

Marsch, this past May, blasted the USMNT and the United States Soccer Federation for his experience in their interview process, saying, “I wasn’t treated very well.”

And Berhalter’s future with the USMNT already hangs in the balance again after the team disastrously failed to advance past the group stages at the Copa America — becoming the first host nation to be eliminated in the group stages in tournament history.

The USSF is evaluating Berhalter’s future and will make a decision by midweek, according to multiple reports.

Meanwhile, Marsch, 50, has the USMNT’s neighbors up north playing some of the best soccer they’ve ever played and has certainly seemed to move on from his USMNT disappointment.

Jesse Marsch has Canada on the brink of an appearance in the Copa America final. AP

While the nation that spurned him finds itself in disarray, Marsch has Canada where the USMNT believes it belongs itself.

“I never doubted my ability as a coach,” Marsch said. “What I’ve always doubted in this business is, how do you find the right people to work with? The best thing about where I’m at right now is that it feels like home to me. It feels like I’m working with a group of players that value the things that I bring. I value the things they’re about.

“I think the Canadian Soccer Association is a humble but professional organization and the new leadership is fantastic. The people in the country have been 100 percent behind me and us and what we’re doing with this team. … It’s the reason I came, because I felt how strongly they wanted me here.”

Jesse Marsch interviewed for the USMNT head-coaching job but wasn’t hired. AP

Canada lost to Argentina before beating Peru and drawing Chile in the group stages, scoring just one goal between the three games.

They finished second in Group A, and subsequently beat Venezuela in penalties last Friday to book their spot in the semifinal.

It’ll be a rematch of Canada’s Copa America opener, when they fell 2-0 to Lionel Messi and Argentina.

“We didn’t do well enough with Messi last match,” Marsch said. “He was able to run free at our goalkeeper too much. We won’t man-mark him, but he’s certainly an emphasis of how we will defend.”

Jesse Marsch (r.) is pictured in 2015, when he was the head
coach of the Red Bulls. Bill Kostroun for the NY Post

Though he’s a Racine, Wis. native, Marsch has a lot of history in New Jersey, where Tuesday’s clash will take place.

He rose to prominence over three years in charge of the Red Bulls in MLS, and before that was an assistant at Princeton — where he played collegiately.

After the Red Bulls, Marsch became an assistant manager at RB Leipzig in Germany, managed Red Bull Salzburg in Austria for two years, returned to RB Leipzig as manager for a year and then managed Leeds in England for a year before being fired in February 2023.

“To coach in the Copa America Final here in New Jersey, where I went to university, where I coached the New York Red Bulls, where a lot of my mentors and people that have had a big effect on me personally and professionally, to see them this week, to know they’re gonna be at the match, to be here at this historic site, is special,” Marsch said.

“My mind is wrapped totally around giving our team a chance. Not just to have a special experience, but a real special victory.”

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