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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Rivals and friends, Marsch saw coaching in Curtin from a young age

You can't tell from this tantrum in a June 29th Open Cup game,
but Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch, right, and Union boss Jim Curtin remain
close friends from their playing days. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)
Jim Curtin can scarcely get through a press conference relating to the New York Red Bulls without mentioning his personal connection and professional admiration for the team’s manager, Jesse Marsch.

The two go way back, teammates with the Chicago Fire from 2001-05 and again in wrapping up their careers with Chivas USA from 2008-09. They were both part of the 2003 Chicago Fire team that came within a win of the American soccer treble, finishing as MLS Cup runner-up to complement capturing the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield. The Fire lost in the Open Cup final again the next year.

Curtin and Marsch now find themselves on opposite sides of a burgeoning MLS rivalry, which pens another installment Sunday when the Red Bulls visit the Philadelphia Union.

Marsch this week spoke glowingly to reporters in New York about his former teammate and mentee (Curtin is five years Marsch’s junior). The remarks come midway through the video:

Marsch recognized coaching aptitude and interest in Curtin from a young age, and his description of a young Curtin coaching in the youth ranks early in his days with the Fire tracks with Curtin’s ascent to the Union top job via success in the Generation Adidas Cup in 2012.

Marsch also alludes to the atmosphere in Chicago that spawned a litany of successful soccer guys (or perhaps had been informed by the concentration of so many soccer lifers, depending on your perspective). From those teams, Curtin, Marsch, Bulgarian international Hristo Stoichkov and former Union/D.C. United boss Peter Nowak have gone on to various degrees of coaching success.

Four current MLS assistants – Chris Armas (on Marsch’s staff in New York), Logan Pause (Chicago), Ante Razov (Seattle) and Zach Thornton (D.C.) – were also on those Chicago teams. You can also count former RSL, Chicago and New York City FC assistant CJ Brown and the Union’s Mike Sorber, who played alongside Marsch in Chicago in 2000, among that population as well. Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra and former Union exec Diego Gutierrez were also contemporaries of Marsch and Curtin in Chicago.

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