Jesse_Marsch_7_25

GIASE: Coach of the Year award "truly is a group honor" for Marsch and co.

When Jesse Marsch was hired in January he made a number of promises. None of them had to do with results, but he vowed his team would work hard, play as a unit and fight for each other, and if they did that the results would speak for themselves.
 
Ten months later it is clear the players bought in. And the results certainly have spoken volumes as the team is within one game of reaching the MLS Cup Final.
 
Marsch, in guiding the Red Bulls to a franchise record for victories (18), home wins (12) and points (60), winning the Supporters’ Shield and scoring the most goals in the league (62), has been named Major League Soccer’s 2015 Coach of the Year, the first such honor for a coach in franchise history.
 
“I’m honored to be selected among my peers … but it is a team award, and I think it’s more of an acknowledgment of everything that we’ve been able to accomplish in this organization,” Marsch said following training on Tuesday.
 
“When I came on board it was obviously a crazy situation, but right away I realized that there are amazing people in this organization and amazing people to work with, and it’s been a total pleasure for me from Day One to work with everyone, to (general manager) Marc de Grandpre’s team to our technical team on the soccer side, to then the players.
 
“We really should credit the players for what they’ve put into this, how much they believed in what’s being built here and how much they’ve contributed. It truly is a group honor.”
 
After changes in the front office and the coaching staff in the offseason Marsch had to earn the trust of the fans. He told them up front that this would be a team they could get behind, and that it would be a fun team to watch and to root for.
 
The fan base seemed skeptical at first, but as the team started winning, and with the energetic style of play and effort the players put forth, the fans soon jumped on board.
 
“He’s had a great year,” sporting director Ali Curtis said. “The team’s done really well and he’s been not just a great coach but he’s been a good friend, he’s been a good colleague and he’s been a good leader. The team’s done really well and I’m very happy for him.
 
“We’re all extremely competitive and we’re very aggressive. We all work extremely hard and we demand results out of ourselves and everyone around us. We’re happy that we’ve been able to have a successful season and we’ll build upon it for next year as well, but right now we’re just trying to get ready for Columbus.”
 
That will come Sunday at Red Bull Arena, when the Red Bulls attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals, but looking at the big picture many of those on the field will be players Marsch and Curtis brought in this year.
 
“It feels great for us as well because we know we were a part of it,” said winger Mike Grella, one of the key acquisitions of the offseason. “Personally speaking, he’s the best manager I’ve ever worked with and I’m sure every single guy can tell you the same thing. He’s been amazing, an unbelievable part of my career and my life, and he’s just a fantastic person first and foremost, a guy you want to fight for, and it’s very fitting and deserved that he’s won it.”
 
Felipe was another player brought in this season. He played for Marsch in Montreal and was excited to play for him again.
 
“I think it’s well deserved,” he said. “I knew him from Montreal. I knew his quality. The work he puts in, everything paid off. We all agree that he more than deserves this award, especially for the team. We’re proud to be a part of the coach of the year. It’s good to have him. He’s going to make this team bigger and bigger. I’m very happy to be part of this organization and work for him.”
 
It was not only new players, but players who were already here that developed quickly and made a difference on the field. Defender Matt Miazga is a perfect example. To go from a little-used substitute last year to a starter this year, and then progressing from the United States Under-20 team, to the Under-23 team to the national team all in one season has been incredible.
 
“I think he deserves it. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever worked with,” Miazga said. “(He’s) obviously a very good guy off the field as well so I think he deserves the award. You saw what he’s done with this team.  A lot of credit goes to him. He put a new system into place, a new philosophy. He deserves it.
 
“Jesse instills a lot of confidence in me. I like to feed off his passion. To translate it off the field, we do a lot of video sessions and he helps me a lot with tactics. The most important thing is the way he instills confidence in me and the team and everyone is very confident and ready to play for him.”
 
Curtis was looking for a number of different qualities when sifting through managerial candidates, and Marsch seemed to check off every box.
 
“Attention to detail is one of the many things that I was trying to look at when making the change,” Curtis said “Jesse’s extremely detail-oriented. He also does a whole lot of other things real well just in terms of work ethic and everything else.
 
“For me, it wasn’t just one thing that kind of stuck out. There was just a menu of different positive attributes that I looked at and was able to evaluate. One of the things you also look at is you look at a guy’s background. Does he have something to prove?  Does he have a chip on his shoulder, so that when he comes in here he can really hit the pavement running? That was Jesse.
 
“You look at his background, you look at his coaching background, and he had something to prove and he’s done that this year. He’s really galvanized this group on the field as well as off the field and it’s been great. We’ve had a great year and Jesse’s a big part of that.”
 
One thing Curtis saw right away was Marsch’s care and compassion for his players on and off the field.
 
“He’s a normal, real guy that will put his arm around you and he’ll do everything he can for you,” Curtis said. “I sent a note around to our staff about Jesse being named the coach of the year and I said he’s a special coach but he’s even a better human being, so I think players are smart and they can see how authentic you are with them. He pays attention to all the little things and he does everything he can for his players.
 
“We hope to grow together for a long time. In all the different decisions that you make you want them to be long-term decisions, whether that’s with players or whether that’s with coaches. Jesse’s great. He’s going to be around here a long time and we’re happy to have him as a coach.”

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