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Report: NYRB II coach will be...Jesse Marsch?

RBNY might be taking this "synergy" thing a little too far...

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

We haven't heard much about New York Red Bulls II, the stubbornly-titled USL team of the New York Red Bulls (aka RBNY; really, Papa - you think this NYRB moniker will stick if you paint it on the reserves?). The new team's official Twitter account popped up on February 9, promised "details coming this week", and has since tweeted the same piece of news four times: there's an open tryout on 2/28, if you hadn't heard.

But RBNY II does exist, or at least it will once the Red Bulls get around to providing it with some players. And a permanent home (right now, there's a lot of "TBA" on the RBNY II schedule; we can but assume TBA doesn't stand for "T'other Bulls' Arena"). And a coach.

To that end, the club may have tipped its hand about its reserve team coach. Per an article on by Michael Lewis:

Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch...has not one, but two rosters, to worry about.

He will direct the Red Bulls' MLS team, which is scheduled to kick off its 20th season at Sporting Kansas City on March 8, as long as there is a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place.

He will oversee the Red Bulls II team that will open against the Rochester Rhinos at Red Bull Arena on March 28.

There you have it: the head coach of the New York Red Bulls II is...the head coach of the New York Red Bulls!

Take a bow, Jesse Marsch. That is a helluva a "synergy" statement, and nothing says "uptempo" like bouncing between two squads and two sets of training sessions. One can offer nothing but respect to a coach who walks his talk - and Jesse will be so busy he won't even have time for walking. Jogging Jesse Marsch: the man who waited so long for his next head coaching job he's picked up two at the same time.

Or not.

The article rather specifically states Marsch will "oversee" the team that plays the Rochester Rhinos on March 28. As the earlier text implies, the team has half an eye on the ongoing CBA negotiations and the ever-growing possibility of a delayed start to the MLS season. Marsch might be penciled in to coach NYRB II for no better reason than he needs to be doing something if his first team squad is on strike.

Or it could be theater: the club has a renewed enthusiasm for "synergy", both with the rest of Papa Red Bull's global soccer empire and within its own system. Putting the head coach of the first team in charge of the reserves for their inagural run-out could just be a way of sending the message that the tactics in place for RBNY II come right from the top - meaning whoever takes over the day-to-day management of the reserves is clearly understood to be a vessel for Jesse Marsch's tactical vision, rather than a challenger to whatever the as-yet-unexplained orthodoxy might be.

Or we I might be reading way too much into the use of the word "oversee". Marsch might simply plan to be on the sidelines, watching the reserves up close, but not technically coaching.

What is clear from the article is Marsch plans to use the USL team as an active incubator for the second-tier of his MLS squad. He's worried about logistical details such as the implications of having guys match-fit and ready to participate in first team games the day after the USL side plays.

That is encouraging, as it suggests he's painfully aware of the need to make the connection between the USL and MLS teams real and active. He's looked at the schedules in detail, and he's seen the days where it will be impossible to have a guy play significant minutes in USL and be expected to recover in time to be a member of the matchday 18 in MLS.

Such thinking indicates Marsch very much wants players on the fringe of the MLS team to know they will be rewarded with first team looks if they perform well in USL, and he's alive to the fact he's telegraphing his MLS 18 to players and opponents to a certain extent every time the reserves play in circumstances that make it impossible for guys to participate in the games of both squads in one week.

All of that sounds a lot like a man who plans on micromanaging both teams throughout the season. Does that mean he'll actually coach both squads, full time? No. If there are times it will be impossible for players to be with both teams, then there are times it will be impossible for a coach to be with both teams. Also, trying to coach both sides would be nothing but counter-productive: every first team loss would be second-guessed as a function of Marsch's divided attention.

Whatever Marsch does with RBNY II on March 28, it will most likely be a one-off or symbolic role. Still, right now, he's the only coach who has been officially attached to the USL team (What's that? Why yes, I count a report as "official" - have you been following how much team news breaks through that channel?), just like Red Bull Arena is the only home field the reserves officially have to play on at the moment.

The real question after the release of this detail is whether we will have to wait until after March 28 for RBNY II to officially announce a head coach who doesn't already have a head coaching job. Until or unless that happens, we have little choice but to applaud Two-Jobs Jesse for his remarkable commitment to the high-energy ideals of his employer.