The Montreal Impact will become the 19th MLS team next year, and today, they named the man who will lead them in their debut season: MLS original Jesse Marsch.
Marsch joined MLS in 1996, coming out of Princeton University and signing with D.C. United and coach Bruce Arena. He won the inaugural MLS Cup with the Black-and-Red, and another one in 1997, before moving on to the expansion Chicago Fire in 1998. There, he won a third MLS crown, this time under Bob Bradley, who had coached Marsch at Princeton.
Marsch would later join Chivas USA before retiring in 2009 with three MLS Cups, four U.S. Open Cups, one MLS All-Star nod, and two caps with the U.S. national team.
In February 2010, Bradley hired Marsch, 37, as an assistant with the U.S. national team.
Marsch’s hiring, and Saturday’s unveiling of the Impact’s MLS logo (see it here) got us thinking about the history of the game in the French-speaking city, and the ties that bind it to U.S. and international soccer history.
Let’s take a look:
Team: Montreal Olympique
Notable Players: Clive Charles, Graeme Souness
Legacy: Olympique played just three seasons in the NASL without ever making the playoffs, but the presence of Charles, future U.S. Olympic coach and architect of the excellent program at the University of Portland, and Souness, a Scottish legend, link it to both U.S. and UK soccer royalty.
Team: Montreal Manic
Notable Players: Tony Towers, Gordon Hill, Alan Willey
Legacy: Le Manic was a short-lived but memorable presence in the NASL, averaging 23,704 in attendance in ’81 and reaching the playoff semifinals in ’83. Towers and Hill were both capped by England in their careers, and Willey is second on the NASL all-time scoring list.
Team: Montreal Supra
League: Canadian Soccer League
Notable Players: Alex Bunbury, Christian Gourcoff
Legacy: Gourcoff is the current coach of French Ligue 1 side Lorient; Bunbury went on to play in MLS with Kansas City and his son, Teal, was the fourth pick in the 2010 SuperDraft going to….Kansas City. They are MLS’s only father-son duo to date. And Teal, after declaring for the U.S. in November 2010, has two appearances and one goal for the Nats.