New national soccer team coach named, bombshell after bombshell

The Korean Football Association’s (KFA) administrative saga continues. We’re three weeks away from the A-match break, which includes matches 5 and 6 of the 2026 North and Central American World Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round, and the search for a national soccer team head coach is stalled.

The controversy is not the least of which is the rejection of the KFA’s top priority, a coach the organization had been negotiating with.

According to soccer circles on Wednesday, American coach Jesse Marchi has turned down the KFA’s offer to take charge of the South Korean national team. Born in 1973, March, 51, is from the United States, a country often referred to as the Third World in soccer. His career as a player was unremarkable, with only two caps for the US national team. He then turned to coaching, working under former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley for about a year in 2010, before managing the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer (MLS).

In 2018, he became the head coach of Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, a position he held for two years starting in June 2019, and in 2021, he took over as head coach of fellow Red Bull club Leipzig in the German Bundesliga, a position he held for four months before being fired in December of the same year.

He became an English Premier League manager in February 2022, taking over from the bench at Leeds United in the middle of the 2021-2022 season and guiding the Whites to promotion, but did not complete the 2022-2023 season. He was sacked in February 2023 after Leeds slumped to 17th place out of 20 clubs. Leeds were relegated to the second tier as they were unable to recover from March’s mercenary tactics.

In the case of Red Bull Salzburg, the gap between them and the rest of Austria was so wide that they won the Bundesliga title for a decade, from 2013-2014 to the last season, 2022-2023.

It’s almost as if Salzburg could have won the title without him. However, the club didn’t fare as well in the UEFA Champions League, getting knocked out in the group stage in both seasons. His lack of national team experience is also a major handicap.

However, he is in his early 50s and at the peak of his coaching career, has coached top-flight clubs in Germany and England, and has ties to Korean players, including coaching Hwang Hee-chan at Salzburg and Leipzig, so the KFA’s National Power Enhancement Committee (hereafter referred to as the Power Committee) considered him the best candidate for the job. However, the negotiations broke down when they were unable to meet Machi’s ransom, which was said to be around 6 billion won.

The KFA is facing an estimated 10 billion won ($10 million) in penalties for terminating former national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann. In 토토 addition, the KFA has taken out a 30 billion won loan from a bank to build the Korea Football Center in Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do. It seems as if the KFA’s finances are so tight that it was difficult to pay the coach’s ransom.

Now, with the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2026 World Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round just around the corner, the search for a new coach has become a major challenge.

The Taeguk Warriors will face Singapore on June 6 in Singapore for the fifth match of the second qualifying round before returning to South Korea for the final home match against China on June 11. South Korea has three wins and a draw from matches 1-4, and needing just one draw from their remaining two matches to punch their ticket to the third qualifying round, which is awarded to the second-place finisher in each group.

However, with the third qualifying round for the World Cup starting in September during the next A-match break after June, the KFA wanted to hire a new national team manager within the month and use the second round matches 5 and 6 next month as a check-up and tactical test for the players, as the first match of the third qualifying round against a formidable opponent would be too much for a new manager to handle.

In addition to Machin, Jeon has also reportedly put former FC Seoul coach Senor Senor Guinnessu of Tunisia, Spaniard Jesús Casas of the Iraqi national team, and former Wolverhampton coach Bruno Raz of Portugal on the list, but all of them have handicaps. Guinness is in his mid-70s, which is a disadvantage. Kasas is an incumbent coach, so the KFA would have to pay him a penalty.

Raz has no national team experience and could face competition from other clubs.

The KEPCO had initially considered former U-23 national team coach Hwang Sun-hong and Ulsan Hyundai coach Hong Myung-bo as the top two candidates for the next national team manager. After KEPCO Chairman Chung Eui-sung appointed Hwang as the interim coach of the national team for the third and fourth rounds of the 2026 World Cup in March, he praised him for the team’s 1-1 draws at home and away against Thailand, especially the 3-0 sweep in Thailand, suggesting he was a strong candidate.

However, South Korea’s shock quarterfinal exit at the U-23 Asian Cup last month effectively eliminated Hwang from consideration for the national team job. Hong has reportedly expressed his desire to remain at Ulsan.

South Korean soccer has been a disaster at the national team level this year. The national team suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Cup in Qatar in February, which not only cost them the title but also led to the firing of coach Klinsmann. At the U-23 Asian Cup, the team failed to qualify for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament for the first time in 40 years. The search for a new national team coach has stalled.

With less than two weeks to go until the roster is announced, it will be interesting to see what the KFA has in store.

South Korean soccer has been a disaster at the national team level this year. The national team suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Cup in Qatar in February, which not only cost them the title but also led to the firing of coach Klinsmann. At the U-23 Asian Cup, the team failed to qualify for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament for the first time in 40 years. The search for a new national team coach has stalled.

With less than two weeks to go until the roster is announced, it will be interesting to see what the KFA has in store.

South Korean soccer has been a disaster at the national team level this year. The national team suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Cup in Qatar in February, which not only cost them the title but also led to the firing of coach Klinsmann. At the U-23 Asian Cup, the team failed to qualify for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament for the first time in 40 years. The search for a new national team coach has stalled.

With less than two weeks to go until the roster is announced, it will be interesting to see what the KFA has in store.

South Korean soccer has been a disaster at the national team level this year. The national team suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Cup in Qatar in February, which not only cost them the title but also led to the firing of coach Klinsmann. At the U-23 Asian Cup, the team failed to qualify for the Olympic men’s soccer tournament for the first time in 40 years. The search for a new national team coach has stalled.

With less than two weeks to go until the roster is announced, it will be interesting to see what the KFA has in store.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *