Troy Lesesne knows he is fully ready for this next step.
“Nineteen seasons I've been working as a coach and honing my craft to be prepared for an opportunity like this,” Lesesne said. “I'm going to take it with everything and put everything into it that I could possibly do for the club.”
Lesesne takes over as Interim Head Coach of the New York Red Bulls, kicking off with back-to-back rivalry matches -- one, a US Open Cup match vs. the team’s oldest rival, the other a New York Derby against the club’s closest rival.
“I'm ready for this opportunity,” Lesesne said. “I'm extremely excited about this opportunity.”
Lesesne knows this is an inflection point for the club, using it as a moment to reset.
“We're not where we want to be, clearly, in the league table and then we have a knockout match versus D.C. United tomorrow, the Open Cup, and so that the message was quite clear: I want to use this as a moment as a reset for individuals that have any topics or anything that may be leading to frustration coming in,” Lesesne said. “Where we are in the season for the team itself, and anything that's negative in any way, let's use this moment right now as a reset so that we can move forward again in a positive direction.”
Head of Sport Jochen Schneider knows that the knowledge and energy Lesesne brings to the role is only going to help him and the club.
“He's an inspiring coach and an incredible person [who] really works well with young players, can develop them,” Schneider said. “He's a very good leader training every day, fantastic energy into the building. These are the reasons why we are convinced that he's the right one now for this job, and it's not an easy one. But with all the support from the club and the fans, we will make the turnaround. I'm sure about that.”
Lesesne takes over through the end of the 2023 season, at which point the club will adhere to the league’s diversity-in-hiring policy.
Schneider made it clear that Lesesne will have the organization’s full support.
“Totally focused on Troy and giving him all the support he and his coaching team needs to be successful,” Schneider said.
Lesesne joined the New York Red Bulls ahead of the 2022 MLS regular season.
He previously served as New Mexico United Head Coach and Sporting Director for three years. He led New Mexico to back-to-back postseason berths in 2019 and 2020. He was named 2020 USL Championship Coach of the Year after he led his team to the playoffs after playing the entire season on the road. In 2019, he coached New Mexico United to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Lesesne said that the team is ready for the challenges ahead, and knows that while wins and losses will both come, the act of moving forward will happen no matter what.
“We have a team right now that's capable of doing more than where we currently are at the table,” Lesesne said. “What I hope for all of the players and all of the staff and our supporters to see is that we have to get better connected and move forward together in a positive way. I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity and look forward to moving in a positive direction.”
Lesesne also noted that one of the next steps is about evolving the style of play.
“We can start to implement some sort of evolution in our style of play,” Lesesne said. “I think that that's extremely important for this next step for us.”
While still maintaining Red Bull soccer’s DNA, of course.
“The style of play is clear, but now it's up to Troy to develop the game, to develop the players, to give his input to whomever,” Schneider said. “At the end of the day to be a successful team on the pitch.”
PRESS CONFERENCE: Troy Lesesne Introduced as Head Coach
Prior to New Mexico, Lesesne joined Charlotte Independence in 2015 and spent three seasons there, where the club posted a 49-37-34 record. They reached the playoffs in back-to-back years and the Independence advanced to the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after defeating the New England Revolution in the fourth round. The West Columbia, South Carolina native spent one season with the Charleston Battery as an assistant coach and worked closely with the Vancouver Whitecaps, as Charleston and the Whitecaps had a partnership agreement.
One of Lesesne’s main points over the last year and half has been set pieces, which he marks as one of the facets of the game that has been going well.
“We feel really good about what we're doing against the ball, in transition, set pieces,” Lesesne said. “With the ball, we just have to provide a lot of clarity, we have to have a lot more controlling and managing and hopefully we see some more creativity in these moments.”
Before coaching at the professional ranks, Lesesne spent nine years as an assistant coach for the College of Charleston, where he helped guide the program to a 82-76-14 mark as well as a Southern Conference regular season title and a second round NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. Lesesne holds his USSF A Coaching License and a NSCAA Premier Diploma.
Lesesne knows his work needs to start immediately, and it did as he ran his first training as Head Coach on Monday. And his work extends beyond the pitch, as well.
“What I hope for moving forward is that we can be more connected, that we can take steps toward making [supporters] feel like they have a voice within our club and I think that's what makes Red Bull so uniquely different from any other club in MLS,” Lesesne said.