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Leeds United Hires American Jesse Marsch to Marcelo Bielsa as Manager

Jesse Marsch’s next chapter in his career managing abroad will take place in the Premier League.

Marsch, who most recently managed the Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig, will take over for Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United after Bielsa was sacked on Sunday.

Bielsa’s reign at Elland Road began in 2018 with Leeds as a mid-table Championship side that he rapidly turned around. The next year Leeds finished third, then finished first, winning promotion to the Premier League where it would place ninth after a remarkable first season in the top flight since ’03-04.

The Argentine fell out of favor with the club battling relegation this season. Bielsa’s side has picked up just one point in its last six league matches, losing by a combined 10–0 to Liverpool and Tottenham last week.

Marsch began his managerial career in MLS, where a rise from expansion club Montreal Impact to the Red Bull system saw him make the move to Europe. He managed RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga before making the move to Germany with RB Leipzig ahead of the 2021 season.

While he rose quickly through the Red Bull ranks, Marsch’s tenure in Leipzig didn’t last long. He was sacked after just four months as his club had picked up just 18 of a possible 42 points in its first 14 games.

His move to Leeds makes him the first U.S.-born coach to manage a club in England’s top flight since Bob Bradley briefly took over Swansea City in 2016. Bradley lasted just 11 games in charge of the Swans, winning only two. German-born former U.S. international David Wagner also previously managed in the Premier League after leading Huddersfield Town to promotion in ’17. Chris Armas, Marsch's former teammate in MLS and assistant at the New York Red Bulls, is currently an assistant coach to Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.

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“We are delighted to welcome Jesse to the club and excited for him to lead us into this new chapter," Leeds director of football Victor Orta said in a statement. “Jesse is someone we identified a number of years ago during his time at Red Bull Salzburg and we believe his philosophy and style of football aligns with that of the club and will suit the players very well.

“We have a long-term plan and firmly believe he can take Leeds United to the next level and are excited for what the future holds.”

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Marsch’s first task as Leeds manager will be to keep the club in the Premier League—it currently sits just two points out of the relegation zone with 12 matchweeks remaining, with 18th-place Burnley surging and 17th-place Everton holding two games in hand.

“Whilst the short-term objective for Jesse is obvious, we believe he has the courage and ambition to build on the strong foundations we have created over the last four years and elevate the performance of the club over the long-term," Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear said. "He had a great deal of success with New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg and has demonstrated during our many meetings that he is a great fit with the footballing culture of Leeds United."

Leeds, which is part-owned by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, could further its American connection in the summer. The club made a strong attempt to sign U.S. winger Brenden Aaronson from Salzburg in January, only to be rebuffed. It’s reportedly set to renew its interest in the summer if it can avoid relegation, which would reunite Marsch and the player after they spent the second half of last season together in Austria.

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