RB Leipzig Player’s Description Of Jesse Marsch Reminds Us Of Ted Lasso

Willi Orbán talked about his new American boss in the best way imaginable.

Jesse Marsch is the best American coach in European football right now. After two wildly successful campaigns with Red Bull Salzburg, the Wisconsin native moved up to the big time with RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. Ahead of his first season leading Leipzig, Marsch is already being compared to another wildly successful American coach in Europe, albeit a fictional one, Ted Lasso.

Given the success of the “Ted Lasso” Apple TV+ series, I’d argue Jason Sudeikis’ character is the most popular American soccer coach in the world. So maybe it’s no coincidence he and Marsch share a few of the same qualities, as were made evident in a recent Willi Orbán interview with German media outlet Sportbuzzer.

Marsch, who was an assistant at Leipzig for a year before he was named Salzburg’s head coach, is one of just two American head coaches in Europe’s Top 5 leagues this year, the other being Italian-American Pellegrino Matarazzo, the New Jersey-born coach of Stuttgart. 

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Orbán is an experienced Hungarian center back who nearly got his national team out of a group of death with France, Germany and Portugal at this summer’s Euros. With nearly 200 appearances for Leipzig, he’s one of the club’s most veteran players, and last season fans voted him the player of the season. 

Before the start of the Bundesliga season, which RB kicks off Sunday against Mainz, Orbán spoke with Sportbuzzer and his description of Marsch reminded us a whole heckuva lot of Ted Lasso.

“I haven’t had a coach so far who has been this close to us,” Orbán told Sportbuzzer. “He says to us: ‘Boys, your problems are my problems.’ That gives you a tremendous feeling; for a coach like that, you walk through fire.”

We weren’t the only ones to pick up on the similarity to AFC Richmond’s coach.

In “Ted Lasso,” the eponymous coach is a relentlessly optimistic Kansan who is more interested in his players’ growth as young men than wins or losses (or, to his constant surprise, draws). It’s a common theme from coaches in America, particularly in high school football. Lasso reminds me so much of many of the high school coaches I had the pleasure of interacting with on a daily basis from my time as a newspaper reporter in East Texas. 

Marsch, born in Racine, Wisconsin, seems to have a bit of Lasso in him. In my mind, that’s a very good thing. It sure beats Richie Burke’s coaching style.

Orbán also discussed Marsch’s tactics a bit. You can read the full interview here.

“We want to integrate the content that we learned under Julian Nagelsmann,” Orbán said, referring to the man Marsch replaced as head coach. “The first two phases, game opening and transition game, were outstanding under Julian. Now and then in phase three we lacked a quick draft. Deep balls are disgusting for any defender. And with our midfielders and sprinters in the storm, we want and need depth.”

Marsch won’t be the only American in Leipzig. Though he left Brenden Aaronson behind in Salzburg, he’s been reconnected with Tyler Adams, who he coached at New York Red Bulls. 

Marsch and Adams will have a showdown with Matarazzo in the second week of the season when Stuttgart comes to Leipzig on Friday, Aug. 20. And in case you’ve missed the David Hasselhoff promo, the Bundesliga is once again available on ESPN+ in the U.S. this season.

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