USMNT / World Cup

A look at 2 new USMNT coaches

 

Jesse Marsch and Lubos Kubik have recently joined the coaching staff of the US Full Men’s National Team under Bob Bradley, replacing Piotr Nowak and John Hackworth, who had left the national team for the Philadelphia Union.

I thought that losing Piotr Nowak as an assistant at the national team was a major loss due to his experience and pedigree. He played in Poland, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, and MLS. He also captained the Polish National Team after the fall of Communism. He also had head coach experience at DC United, where he was fairly successful.

I wasn’t that worried about losing John Hackworth, but he was quite good with young players. He had experience coaching college soccer. He also headed up the Bradenton, FL US U-17 Residency Program. As a player he wasn’t that outstanding.

I think that Lubos Kubik and Jesse Marsch are strong replacements for Piotr Nowak and John Hackworth. Lubos Kubik slides in well to replace Nowak, and Jesse Marsch is a good replacement for John Hackworth.

Lubos Kubik has a stronger playing pedigree than Piotr Nowak and also has head coaching experience. Kubik played in the top divisions in Italy, France, and Germany in addition to playing in the MLS, Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. Kubik was considered the best player for Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. This was even after having missed out on playing professionally for two years. He had defected to the West in 1988 and his Czechoslovak team, Slavia Praha, would not release his credentials to play for another team under Fifa rules. As a result Kubik was not able to play for Fiorentina, the team, who wanted him until early 1990 shortly after the Berlin Wall had fallen.

Kubik also has head coaching experience at some small teams in Poland, the Czech Republic, and England. However, none of his coaching experiences were that successful. His MLS experience has allowed him to get used to American players and their mentalities. In addition he played on the same Chicago Fire team that had Piotr Nowak and then head coach Bob Bradley. Having a prior relationship with both of these men makes Kubik an excellent pick.

As for Jesse Marsch, he has lots of experience playing in MLS and has a couple of US National Team Caps. He does not have much coaching experience, however, he has gone through all the work necessary to obtain a USSF “A” License. This means that he has taken at least 5 levels of coaching classes, which start at the “E” level. An “A” license is the highest possible coaching license you can achieve within the US. You have to wait at least a year between taking the classes for each level of the license. So, at a minimum Jesse Marsch has a strong coaching base to fall back on, which took him at least 5 years to build.

Jesse Marsch also has previous connections to Bob Bradley starting all the way back when Marsch was 17 and playing for Princeton. He also played for Bradley while Bradley was an assistant coach at DC United. In addition he played on the same Chicago Fire team as Nowak and Kubik when Bradley was the head coach. Like Kubik, this makes him an excellent fit as an assistant coach.

Bob Bradley has picked two good replacements for Nowak and Hackworth who should quickly be able to help him with the team. Kubik has an excellent pedigree that will give him strong credibility when working on player technique. He may even be able to provide more incite than Piotr Nowak could. Marsch can provide strong determination in pushing the players on the team in training. He should help to improve the fighting spirit and grit on the US National Team.

The drawback that I see in these choices is that both of these players are defensive minded. Kubik was an excellent defender, while Marsch is notorious as a hard-nosed defensive midfielder. I think that bringing in an assistant coach with a strong attacking background might have better supplemented the team’s coaching staff. I had also thought that bringing in new assistant coaches just before the World Cup was a bad decision. I still don’t think it was smart, but there isn’t necessarily much that US Soccer or Bob Bradley could have done. In addition Kubik and Marsch are probably the best replacements Bradley could find because they know each other and Bob Bradley well. They can jump right in without much time for adjustment. Hopefully, they will be able to help the US team make a strong appearance at the World Cup this summer. What do you think?

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