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By: Luke Moriarty – Staff Writer
UEFA Champions League wrapped up the ‘Pool Play’ section of the competition around a month ago, and there were many storylines to take from it.
Whether it be the domination of Juventes over Barcelona in ‘Ronaldo v. Messi’, Bayern Munich continuing to tactically pick apart opposing teams, or even the underdog story of Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg led by an American manager taking on the giants of the European football landscape.
I personally care about the part including the American manager, and you should too.
Jesse Marsch, an American manager for RB Salzburg has been a fun story to watch unfold. Deriving from the MLS club, New York RedBulls — a ‘family’ club with RB Salzburg and German club RB Leipzig, Marsch had not much European experience except one year as an assistant at Leipzig in 2018/19. He had played in the MLS for 13 years following his time playing Division 1 soccer at Princeton University. It was also at Princeton where Marsch had began his coaching career, until he took a position with the nearby club up the NJ Turnpike, New York Red Bull in 2015. In that same year, he won MLS Coach of the Year and the Supporter’s Shield.
The quality of coaching was there, Marsch just needed the right club to implement his tactics with.
Along came Red Bull Salzburg, a match made in Heaven… or Austria.
RB Salzburg plays an interesting role as a club. It is in a ‘family organization’ with Bundesliga club RB Leipzig and Salzburg find themselves very in tune with the development of both squads.
Salzburg will often take on loan players from the new Leipzig signings, or house their players that may not get much time for the club. Salzburg also even sells some of their own academy products over to the big German club for profit.
Given all these outside burdens, both the club and American manager don’t mind.
Salzburg is constantly a very young squad. They have an average age of 23 on this year’s squad, and it has really benefited the style Jesse Marsch wants to play, fast.
Marsch has loads of young talent on his squad, featuring the likes of Sekou Koita, Karim Adeyemi, Patson Daka, and newly signed 20 year old American MNT player Brenden Aaronson. All of these players have very high price tags that continue to rise day by day.
Patson Daka is a 22 year old striker from outside Lusaka, Zambia and Jesse Marsch is very lucky to have him because of his potential to be one of the next great African players. Daka has 49 goals in 100 games for Salzburg, including 3 in UEFA Champions League. He is a long and lanky striker with a strong right-foot, be on the lookout for his name in the future.
Karim Adeyemi is an 18 year old stud from Germany who Salzburg thinks can be a great one, he has 3 goals for the senior team since his promotion in December of 2019.
Marsch’s newest signing was the aforementioned Brenden Aaronson, who transferred from the MLS club Philadelphia Union to RB Salzburg for a PHI record transfer of around $9 million. This was the highest price tag for any American homegrown player, as well as the first time any Union homegrown player has been transferred overseas to Europe.
Aaronson is a young star at the Central Attacking Midfield position, who will score many goals not only in Europe but also for the US Men’s National Team.
Marsch’s squad finished in 3rd in Pool Play in the lucrative UEFA Champions League, which qualifies them for the second phase of the Europa League tournament. Marsch has also led his team to the top of the Austrian Bundesliga table, currently standing 1 point above Sturm Graz.
Jesse Marsch’s success has boded well for American soccer culture as well as professional development and establishment of homegrown & young talent overseas.
The best part? This is just the beginning for Marsch, he has a long career ahead of him, just like all the young players he’s coaching now at RB Salzburg!
So keep an eye out for Jesse Marsch’s young gunner squad RB Leipzig, because their success benefits American soccer.
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