American stars Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson are earning their stripes at Leeds


The familiar sound of I Predict a Riot by Leeds rockers the Kaiser Chiefs rang out round Elland Road on Sunday. 

But perhaps Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA would have been a more appropriate anthem given Leeds’ famous 3-0 win over Chelsea was made in America.

As players paraded around the pitch at full time, US international midfielder Tyler Adams was even draped in the Stars and Stripes. 

USA star Brenden Aaronson scored Leeds' opener against Chelsea

American’s Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson have starred for Leeds so far this season

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch (second from L) has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the new season

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch (second from L) has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the new season

He had been one of Leeds’ standout performers, as had his countryman Brenden Aaronson, who nicked the opening goal. Jack Harrison, who moved to America when he was 14 and stayed there until he was 21, also set up the second and scored the third.

Masterminding it all, of course, was an American manager, Jesse Marsch. After the match, he tweeted a picture of himself celebrating in front of the fans who were waving the flag that later found its way to Adams. ‘Leeds United States’ read one of the comments.

It is funny to think now, but when Marsch replaced the much-loved Marcelo Bielsa in the spring, he spoke of the ‘stigma’ of being a US coach in England.

‘I’m not sure Ted Lasso helped,’ he joked, in reference to the popular comedy series about a hapless American in charge of a fictional team in London. But Marsch — just the second US-born Premier League manager after ex-Swansea boss Bob Bradley — has been breaking down that stigma ever since. 

Jack Harrison moved to America when he was just 14 and stayed till 21 before joining Leeds

Jack Harrison moved to America when he was just 14 and stayed till 21 before joining Leeds

Marsch instrumented Leeds' shock 3-0 win over Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea on Sunday

Marsch instrumented Leeds’ shock 3-0 win over Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea on Sunday

Crucially, he is also now winning over his own fans, who sang his name during his lap of honour.

The former New York Red Bulls boss claimed when he arrived that it would be ‘inaccurate’ to say there was an ‘Americanisation’ at Leeds. 

Marsch and Adams embrace at full time against Chelsea

Marsch and Adams embrace at full time against Chelsea

In doing so, he was attempting to play down fans’ fears of the way the club appeared to be heading, with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers also owning a 44 per cent stake.

Such worries may have been heightened in the summer when Aaronson and Adams were signed. Yet supporters will now only see the American influence as a good thing, with their side unbeaten and sitting in third.

‘It shows people around the world that Americans can play football too,’ said Aaronson. ‘We’re playing for an English Premier League team and getting goals and assists. 

So we’re out there and we’re doing well — on the coaching side of things, too. It’s only up and coming. There’s going to be more and more talent in the future making this trip over the pond.’

Aaronson already looks to be one of the signings of the season. The New Jersey-born 21-year-old is nicknamed the ‘Medford Messi’ and he has been running rings around defenders, much like the Argentinian great.

Against Chelsea, Leeds players collectively ran 10km more than their opponents and no one worked harder than Aaronson, whose press forced goalkeeper Edouard Mendy into his mistake for the first goal. 

Marsch previously suggested TV show Ted Lasso didn't help the stigma of American managers

Marsch previously suggested TV show Ted Lasso didn’t help the stigma of American managers

‘The kid is non-stop. He is relentless,’ said Marsch of the £22million signing from Red Bull Salzburg.

He could say the same about fellow new boy Adams, who won more tackles and interceptions and had more touches than any other Leeds player against Chelsea. 

The 23-year-old New Yorker has adapted brilliantly to the English game and helped fill the huge void left by Kalvin Phillips’ departure to Manchester City. 

‘He is playing the best football in his life,’ added Marsch, who worked with Adams at New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig.

Leeds have enjoyed a stellar start to the new Premier League season after two wins

Leeds have enjoyed a stellar start to the new Premier League season after two wins

With Marsch, Aaronson and Adams all now playing leading roles, it is no surprise that Leeds’ support in America is growing.

A recent poll showed the Whites have one of the Premier League’s 10 largest fanbases in the States. After their opening-weekend win over Wolves, 16.4 per cent of people talking about Leeds on Twitter were from the US — the highest percentage in the top flight.

Some US pundits are even calling Marsch’s men ‘America’s Team’, adopting the nickname of the Dallas Cowboys.

But it is the support inside Elland Road that will mean the most to the Leeds manager. And thanks in no small part to the performances of his compatriots Aaronson and Adams so far this season, Marsch has never felt more at home.



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