Americans in the Premier League: Coaches, coaches of the English Premier League


New Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch will be just the third American to lead the English Premier League.

Marsch is tasked with replacing Marcelo Bielsa as he seeks to keep Leeds in the Premier League, and his appointment is significant as it could help change the wider perception of American football.

Following Bob Bradley’s short stint at Swansea and David Wagner’s spell at Huddersfield, Marsch will be looking to demonstrate he can make a major impact in the English top flight.

MORE: Who is Jesse Marsch?

Here’s a look at the significance of Marsch’s appointment and an assessment of other successful American coaches in Europe.

American coaches in the Premier League

Only two American managers have ever succeeded in the Premier League – Bob Bradley and David Wagner.

Bob Bradley

Former US boss Bradley was appointed Swansea City manager in October 2016 following the sacking of Francesco Guidolin. Bradley became the first American to lead the Premier League and his appointment drew widespread criticism from fans amid suggestions he was only appointed because the club had American owners.

Bradley was sacked in December 2016 after losing seven of his eleven games in charge – he also won two games and lost two.

David Wagner

The second American to manage in the Premier League was David Wagner. In 2015 Wagner, whose only previous managerial experience came when he was in charge of Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team, was appointed manager of Huddersfield.

Wagner guided Huddersfield to promotion to the Premier League in 2017 and managed to keep them in the division the following season before his contract was terminated by mutual consent in January 2019.

American coaches in the Premier League

Chris Armas

Former New York and Toronto Red Bulls manager Chris Armas was hired by Manchester United in December 2021 to work under the club’s caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick.

According to a report by ESPN in February 2022, some United players are frustrated with Armas and the club’s training sessions, which have been described as “old fashioned”.

American managers in Europe

Gregg Berhalter, the current USA manager, previously coached Swedish side Hammarby IF. Appointed in 2011, he was the first American to lead a professional soccer team in Europe. Berhalter’s tenure lasted until July 2013 when he was sacked for lack of attacking play.

MORE: Why did Leeds fire Marcelo Bielsa?

Other Americans then made do in Europe. Current Stuttgart boss Pellegrino Matarazzo was born in the United States. Brian Clarhaut also coached in Sweden with Nykopings and currently with Umea. Joe Enochs is the manager of Zwickau in the German third tier and Mike Keeney coaches HIFK Helsinki in the top tier of Finnish football.

Bob Bradley has also spent time elsewhere in Europe apart from his time with Swansea City. He managed Norwegian club Stabaek and French side Le Havre at various times in his career. Marsch, meanwhile, managed Austrian club RB Salzburg before joining German club RB Leipzig, both of which obviously predated his appointment to Leeds.


Comments are closed.