Is Wilfried Nancy destined to emulate his fellow former CF Montréal head coach Jesse Marsch?

It just may be that CFM can claim to have played a significant role in yet another successful soccer managerial career.

Former CF Montréal head coach Wilfried Nancy had a year to remember in 2023 as he led his current team, the Columbus Crew, to MLS Cup glory over LAFC.

The win is the latest success for a former Impact coach and has raised the prospect of Nancy possibly following one of his predecessors, Jesse Marsch, in making the switch to Europe and landing one of soccer’s top jobs.

The Long Road Before Leeds United

Jesse Marsch went on to manage the New York Red Bulls after his time in Montréal. That led to jobs in Europe at Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig before he landed a job in the English Premier League with Leeds United.

Marsch managed to keep Leeds in the Premier League in the 2021/22 season. But things went wrong, and he was sacked in February 2023, ahead of Leeds dropping out of English soccer’s top flight. The club is currently trying desperately to get back into the Premier League. According to the latest betting markets, Leeds are priced at odds of +500 to win the division, and Championship betting odds of -138 to be promoted back to the Premier League.

So, even though Marsch was ultimately sacked by Leeds, it appears he didn’t leave the Yorkshire club in such a bad place, and a return to the Premier League at the first attempt looks highly possible for the club.

No job for Marsch since

Despite not working since he left Elland Road, Jesse Marsch’s name has been linked with no end of high-profile jobs. His reputation in the game is good, and his time at Leeds seems well-regarded.

Not long after losing his job at Leeds, Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Leicester City. Marsch was in discussions to take over at the King Power Stadium, and he is also said to have turned down the job of managing Southampton, the third team – along with Leeds and Leicester – to be relegated from the Premier League last season.

His name was linked with the vacancy at Rangers this season, and he was also touted as a possible candidate to take over as boss of the USMNT when Gregg Berhalter’s future looked uncertain earlier this year.

Somehow, even with all the speculation, Marsch is still without a job. But it seems only a matter of time before we see him in a soccer dugout again soon.

Is Wilfried Nancy destined for better things than Marsch?

Comparing the two managers’ time in Canada makes for interesting reading. Jesse Marsch was head coach at CF Montréal from August 2011 until December 2012. He took charge of the franchise team on 36 occasions, winning 12 matches, giving him a win percentage of 33.33%.

Wilfried Nancy did better than that in his time in Canada. The Frenchman coached the Impact in 77 matches, winning 37, with a win percentage of 48.05%. And as we know, he now also has an MLS Cup win on his Resume as well.

Jesse Marsch was lucky in that he got in with the Red Bull organization in New York. This paved the way for him to cross to Europe and ultimately end up in the riches of the Premier League. Wilfried Nancy doesn’t have that luxury, however, what he does have are high-profile contacts within the game like Thierry Henry. And as a French national, a move back to his home continent may be inevitable.

It just may be that CFM can claim to have played a significant role in yet another successful soccer managerial career.