Former Chicago Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch was named the Montreal Impact's head coach on Wednesday as the team prepares for its first MLS season in 2012.
"It's an honor to be named the first head coach of the Montreal Impact in MLS," Marsch said in a release. "It's a great opportunity to establish something special. There are good soccer people in this organization that are committed to doing things the right way. My time in MLS and with the U.S. National Team exposed me to this game at the highest level. We will be committed to the process of becoming a winning team."
The Racine, Wis., native played for the Fire from 1998 to 2005, tallying 19 goals and 29 assists in 200 regular-season games. He was a part of all four of the Fire's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup-winning teams and the team's 1998 MLS Cup squad. Marsch was most recently an assistant with the U.S. National Team.
"That is fantastic," Fire captain Logan Pause said after first hearing of the news after Wednesday's Fire training. "I had the privilege of playing alongside Jesse and getting to know him as a teammate and a really good friend, and spent a brief moment with him with the national team. I'm so happy for him, and [wife] Kim and his family. I just think it's great. It's a great signing by Montreal coming in as an expansion team. He's a guy that's been around the league for a long time and really knows what it takes, and what it takes to win."
"I know that's what he always wanted to do, and he came into a great situation," Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said. "Perfect timing for him."
Klopas says Fire not focused on coaching search: With Montreal taking care of its coaching situation for next year and the Vancouver Whitecaps announcing this week the hiring of Martin Rennie, all eyes are on what the Fire's coaching situation will be for 2012.
Klopas said following Wednesday's training that it is not even a topic of discussion right now as the Fire are looking to dig out of its last-place position in the Eastern Conference with a 2-7-13 record.
"We need to focus on the next 12 games and the [Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup] semifinal here," Klopas said. "Obviously that's our main focus. When that's over, then we'll look at the next step, the next thing."
Pause said he is not looking at the Fire's coaching search and the type of manager that eventually will be brought into the picture.
"It's not really my job or my role -- that's management and ownership," Pause said. "At the end of the day, and I take responsibility, the coaches are responsible for the organization and bringing in players. We're the guys out there. The coaches are not playing the game. We're either out there making plays or not making plays. We know that with the 12 games we have left we're going to scrap and fight for wins."