New RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch: Confidence growing as coach and leader

Jesse Marsch's journey from New York to Leipzig (3:00)

Check out Jesse Marsch's meteoric rise since leaving the U.S. to manage some of Europe's top clubs. (3:00)

Newly appointed RB Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch says he is a more confident and assured leader than when he joined FC Salzburg two seasons ago.

With preseason just two days old, Marsch told reporters his fluency in German and ability to adapt to a different culture -- not to mention the four trophies he won in Austria -- has only increased his belief in his ability and methods.

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"Coaching in a different language and coaching in a different culture and with a new group of players and a new fan base, I'll be honest I was a little nervous," Marsch recalled about his initial season in Salzburg.

"I was really hopeful that they would accept me all the way, but I wasn't totally sure. I think now with the new language and more experience, I've also gained confidence in who I am and how I lead and I've added that to who I am. Certainly the confidence of playing in Champions League and having some success at some very high levels of football has built more into the way I think and the way I treat people and the confidence in who I am as a coach and as a leader."

Marsch has succeeded at every step within Red Bull's organization, managing the New York Red Bulls for four seasons before joining Leipzig as an assistant in 2018 and then managing Salzburg for two campaigns. The challenge he faces with Leipzig is a bit different than those he faced in Austria. With Salzburg, his side were the perennial champions. Now with Leipzig, he'll be trying to knock Bayern Munich, who have won nine consecutive league titles, from their perch atop the Bundesliga.

"There's levels here in Europe, and it's usually to do with what the resources are and that the difference in resources is very different here than it is back [in MLS], which also makes the expectations very different," he said. "So you have to manage all of these things -- internally and externally -- the right way to really give your team the best chance to work quietly and achieve all the things that you believe that they can. So, that's what a lot of the work is about being here in Europe and trying to be a good manager for good clubs."

Marsch sought to downplay a bit the idea that he is flying the flag for U.S. coaches that wish to work abroad. He's not even the only American managing in the Bundesliga, with Stuttgart's Pellegrino Matarazzo the other. His approach is that if he puts the work in, success will follow.

"The best way to represent our football back home, and the pride I have of being an American and being a big part of MLS and that being a big part of my story, is just to honor what I think needs to be done and to try to work as hard as I possibly can," he said. "I appreciate that people are paying attention, and I appreciate that people are following what I'm doing here. But again, I just try to show up to work every day, do my job the best that I can, represent the teams and the players and clubs that I work for and the fan bases. When we do that effectively as a group, then it usually reflects well on the coach."

Marsch has forged a reputation of helping to develop young players, including Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and new Bayern Munich signing Dayot Upamecano. That includes developing players in a way that goes beyond just their performances on the field.

"My main goal will be to bring out the best in them as people first, and encourage them to give everything they have to each other in the right way," he said. "And then, to be able to work with who they are as players is a joy. Even though we've had two days of training now, it's really exciting to see what the possibilities are and I already have a picture of how to help quite a few of these players to get even better."

One player that will eventually work under Marsch is Caden Clark, who is currently on loan with the New York Red Bulls after having been transferred to Leipzig earlier this year.

"You can see he has energy, and he has competence and he has self-belief," said Marsch about Clark. "It's borderline cockiness, but it's also rooted in just confidence in who he is and what he's about. That for me is always the best starting point."