Red Bull Salzburg boss Marsch happy to not be 'treated like an American coach'

The former U.S. international has experienced major success this season at the helm of the Austrian side

Red Bull Salzburg head coach Jesse Marsch has said his time getting acclimatised to the European game has helped him avoid being “treated like an American coach”.

Marsch will lead his Salzburg team against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday, with a victory giving the Austrian side an unlikely spot in the knockout phase of the competition.

Salzburg have been hugely impressive in 2019-20, sitting atop the Austrian Bundesliga and having collected seven points from five Champions League games in a group that contains heavyweights Liverpool and Napoli.

Leading the team is Marsch, who has become one of just a handful of American coaches to have experienced success in Europe. 

Notably, former U.S. men’s national team boss Bob Bradley became the first American to manage in the Premier League in 2016, but his time at Swansea City lasted only 11 games.

For Marsch, easing into the European game has proved to be the right move.

The 46-year-old managed the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in MLS, but he credits his time as an assistant at RB Leipzig under Ralf Rangnick in 2018-19 for helping prepare him to manage in Europe.

“Pedigree still matters a lot to people in Europe,” Marsch told The Guardian. 

“A year in the Bundesliga as an assistant and working under Ralf Rangnick gave me a little bit more to put in my back pocket to go into the next job. It has helped me be better at my job, but it’s also helped the perception of me here.”

That time in Germany, combined with his hard work at learning the language and footballing culture, has led to Marsch saying that he is “not treated like an American coach.”

“My goal was to assimilate, to be myself, but to also honour the culture that I’m working in,” Marsch said. 

“Three years ago, I spoke zero German. Zero. Now I’m relatively fluent. It’s been three years working my butt off to learn the language. I care about it. In some ways, I’m obsessed about it.

“Most of these clubs are a century old. In America, MLS is 25 years old. We’re in our infancy. That’s the way Europeans feel about American football. It’s not true. It’s not reflective of our actual expertise. But we don’t have nearly enough history.”

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