‘It’s about bringing the nation together’: Highlights from Jesse Marsch’s introductory press conference as CanMNT manager

On Monday, shortly after he was unveiled as Canadian men’s national team manager, Jesse Marsch spoke to the media for the first time.

Joined by Canada Soccer CEO & General Secretary Kevin Blue, who led the hiring process, Marsch discussed what drew him to the CanMNT job, the 2024 Copa América, the Canadian player pool, the future of interim coach Mauro Biello and plenty more.

Here are the standout takeaways from his introductory press conference as Canadian men’s national team head coach:


On what drew him to the Canada job

“Honestly, it was a relatively easy decision that once we could see that the fit was really good, then it was just a matter of, okay, how do we make this happen? And I give a lot of credit to Kevin, he was one of the best recruiters I’ve ever known in my life. And this was also a big part of it is I knew they wanted me, I knew that they felt I was right. And that felt that that feeling that connection that we had, I think really motivated me to want to do this. And then the other part that you bring up which is the player pool, you know, without the talent it would be a different conversation and the way that I think about football and the qualities of this player pool, I think fit really well. And it will allow us, I think, to develop the team even further than where it’s already been, which I think it already been very successful. So kind of all the pieces coming together in a way that fit who I am is really what inspired me to take on this big responsibility.”


On taking over the team immediately ahead of some big matches

“I mean, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think, for our team to develop and grow, you have to play in the best games and against the best opponents and really understand what the level is all about. And this player pool has obviously had some big experience, but for sure, those first matches will give us a really good indicator and litmus test as to understanding how to employ all the things that we want to be about as we move forward. So, you know, in general, I think that this business is so much about understanding how to be your best in very difficult and then the biggest moments. And so yeah, we get some big matches right away. And we don’t have a lot of time. But this is what will be important for me in general, as a national team coach is the ability to communicate my ideas very clearly, the ability for the players to understand how to execute the style of playing the match plans. Also, our leadership style or communication style, all these things, the efficiency at which I’m able to lead this team from every perspective will dictate how successful and how quickly we can transform into the team.”


On impacting soccer in this country

“I think is really important to understand is, of course, my main job is to prepare this team to be a winner come 2026. But I also want to play a role in impacting the game in this country. And, and modernizing the sport a little bit and using my experiences to help pass on information. And in always just try to find ways to bring people together and, and learn and teach and provide what with my experiences.”


On the future of Mauro Biello with the team

“Mauro has handled the last year in a really good way. And again, my respect level for Mauro is so, so high, and we will, I hope to have a conversation with him about the possibilities of what could be the future and what a relationship could look like. So yeah, I’ll be reaching out to him soon. That’s for sure.”


On preparation for the 2024 Copa América

“A big part of the work for me in the next two to three weeks will be having individual conversations, getting to know players even travelling to meet with players personally, to get their input on where they think the team is at and what’s been good, how would they think we need to move forward. And that’s my way is I really try to invest in people and bring out the best in them. And I feel if you can do that and create a real connection from a personal perspective, that actually coaching becomes the easy part.”

“Playing Argentina in the first round, a first match of Copa América is a big challenge, but a massive opportunity. And so that’s, I think how we will treat it, we will want to play brave, we will want to go after them, we will want to still try to stay true to the things that we want to be good at. And this will be the case no matter who we’re playing. And the key will be to make our identity clear and ingrained in every game, every training session, every time we’re together.”


On Canada’s place in Concacaf

“Winning Concacaf and World Cup qualifying was a massive, massive achievement. And I think, has changed the dialogue for this group of players, right, certainly, for the expectations that they have of themselves. And yeah, along with that come, you know, certain pressures and, the awareness that we have to meet even bigger goals. And I think we shouldn’t be afraid of that, I think we should be ready to take this responsibility on fully to understand that we need to emerge in the group with US and Mexico as the three powers of of CONCACAF. And I think that, you know, that case can already be made. And then the question is, Can we push on to continue to move the needle of the sport in this country, right. And that’s from a youth level from a development perspective. And now continue to push the program, and defend the sport in our country, so that we can develop and compete more and more at the international level.”

“So of course, that means every tournament, Copa America Gold Cup, Nations League, and certainly the World Cup, that we want to put our best foot forward, we want to perform at our absolute best and compete for trophies. That’s ultimately what we’re in this for so I’m excited about that challenge.”


On moving the sport forward in this country

“The responsibility that this position holds, is not just about getting results for the first team. For me, it’s about bringing the nation together. It’s about creating a movement, it’s about helping youth development. It’s about bettering the sport. Right…Canada’s in many ways, is like a sleeping giant, with the multiculturalism with the types of players, with the types of people that we have in this country. I think there’s a lot that we can achieve. And a lot of growth that can be can be achieved if we work through this together. So I’m hopeful to get a chance to meet a lot of the important people, coaches and community leaders and hear what they have to say and hear what’s been good, what things can be better. And I want to be also a vehicle for continued change and development for the sport. And I believe that Kevin and I and the leaders in the CSA can move this forward in such a positive way. So my mission is more than just how good can we be in 2026. It’s how much better can we help the sport and how much more can we help the sport in this country.”