The End of Leeds United States

todayJune 4, 2023 82 5 5

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By Richard Prasedyoko 

Sports Reporter

It has been four months since American soccer coach Jesse Marsch was fired by Leeds United, and weeks after three American players, Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson and Weston McKennie played their last match for the 2022/2023 English Premier League season. 


At the start of Marsch’s appointment on February 28, 2022, as Leeds United manager was not openly welcomed by the West Yorkshire fans, as he succeeded club legend Marcelo Bielsa, who had reigned for five years and brought the Whites back to the first division in the English football league. However, during the remaining 12 matches after Marsch’s appointment, he managed to win four matches, draw three matches and lose five matches, accruing 15 points. This secured Leeds United’s position outside the relegation zone and kept them in the first division. He was then compared to the fictional character from the Apple TV show, Ted Lasso, as they are both American managers who have done well in managing a Premier League team. 


In the next preseason the Wisconsin native took charge, the club backed him financially by bringing in two American midfielders, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson. The club also signed a few promising young players, including Luis Sinisterra, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca and Wilfried Gnonto. However, Adams and Aaronson had big shoes to fill as two of their star players, Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, were bought by Barcelona and Manchester City, respectively. 


As the season began, Marsch struggled to find the right balance between attacking and defending. In the first half of the season, the Princeton alumni only managed to win four out of 16 matches while in charge. As patience wore thin among fans and board members, the club brought in another American midfielder, Weston McKennie, from the Italian giant Juventus. McKennie’s box-to-box traits and high energy were crucial in helping Marsch retain his job. However, after a match against Nottingham Forest ended in a loss with no goals scored, despite three Americans on the team sheet, Leeds United decided to let Marsch go. 


Marsch’s termination was controversial. Some fans were eager to see him go, while others, including pundits, were surprised by the news, blaming the players’ lack of intensity and dullness in front of goal for Marsch’s departure from Leeds United. With 12 matches remaining, Leeds changed managers three times to replace Marsch, but ultimately finished second to last, resulting in relegation to the second division for the 2023/2024 season. 


As Marsch looks for employment elsewhere, the four American players are also keen to move after the relegation. McKennie’s loan spell ends, and he will return to Juventus. Adams has garnered significant interest from clubs in England, Germany, Italy and Spain, while Aaronson is likely to leave as he has a relegation release clause, allowing him to leave if the club drops down to the second division. Meanwhile, Marsch has been heavily linked to managing a French Ligue 1 club, AS Monaco, staying in England to manage the newly relegated Southampton, or filling the vacant managerial position in the US national team. 


Featured Image by Steffen Prößdorf, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. 

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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