Leeds’ new head coach Jesse Marsch has admitted there is a stigma about Americans managing in English football.
The 48-year-old American signed a contract at Elland Road until June 2025 on Monday after the club sacked hugely-popular Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa.
Marsch said the hit television comedy-drama series Ted Lasso had done little to help the perception of American football coaches working on this side of the Atlantic.
The former RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig boss said: “Yes I think there probably is a stigma. I’m not sure Ted Lasso helped. I haven’t watched the show, but I get it.
“People hate hearing the word ‘soccer’. I’ve used the word football since I was a professional football player.
“I think more and more in the States we’re adapting to what the game here is in England and our connection with what this league is and what the culture of the sport is in this country.
“I can understand they think we don’t have the experiences that can be created here in Europe. Frankly, they’re right.”
Marsch, a former player with Major League Soccer sides DC United, Chicago Fire and Chivas USA, started out in management as assistant coach of the USA national team under former head coach Bob Bradley.
Bradley’s short-lived spell in charge of Swansea in 2016 also did little to address the misconception.
After managerial spells at Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls, Marsch guided Salzburg to successive Austrian league and cup doubles before a brief stint at Leipzig.
He said: “It was reason I came to Europe, the reason I learned German. It’s the reason I’ve tried to adapt. This is the fifth country I have coached football in.
“It takes me out of my comfort zone every time and challenges me to grow and develop and learn new things. I’m very open to that, I’m very cognisant of the fact that I’m not perfect and I don’t want to be.
“All I can say is the only way I know how to do things is to go all in, give everything I have to believe in who I am, to believe in the people I work with and to try to maximise what we are every day.
“I find if you can do that effectively, you can be incredibly surprised with the human spirit and what you can achieve.”
Marsch added, self-mockingly: “So, that sounds like Ted Lasso, I think, from what I have heard.”
I can understand they think we don't have the experiences that can be created here in Europe. Frankly, they're rightJesse Marsch
Marsch has 12 games to keep Leeds in the top flight after a string of heavy defeats.
Leeds sit 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone, after losing five of their last six matches.
The Whites have conceded 60 league goals this season, while the 20 they have shipped in February is a new top-flight record for a calendar month.
Marsch, linked with the assistant’s role at Manchester United late last year having worked under the German at Leipzig in the 2018/19 season, is under no illusions about the challenge he faces in replacing Bielsa.
He said: “I understand what a big job it is and how important it is to the fans and the community here.
“I’ve followed football history for years. I’m very aware of what this is.
“Clearly I’m emotional and excited and I just want to channel that energy into things that can help the team.”
Leeds confirmed Marsch will be assisted by incoming pair Franz Schiemer and Cameron Toshack, while Under-23s coach Mark Jackson has been promoted to the first-team coaching staff.
Schiemer was Marsch’s assistant head coach at RB Salzburg and Toshack, the son of former Liverpool striker and Wales boss John, left his role as head coach of Cypriot side Pafos FC in October 2020.
Marsch will take charge of his first game for Leeds in the Saturday lunch-time kick-off at Leicester.
He confirmed striker Patrick Bamford, sidelined since December with a foot injury, is “very close”, while defender Diego Llorente was doubtful.