Soccer-Canada Coach Marsch Proud of Dream Run at Copa America

Soccer-Canada Coach Marsch Proud of Dream Run at Copa America
Canada men’s soccer head coach Jesse Marsch reacts during a match between Canada and Argentina at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 20, 2024. (Reuters/Agustin Marcarian)

Canada coach Jesse Marsch said he was proud of what his squad had achieved at the Copa America despite the July 9 semi-final defeat by Argentina after the North American underdogs put higher ranked teams in the shade on their tournament debut.

Former Leeds United manager Mr. Marsch took over just five weeks before the tournament kicked off but Canada adapted quickly to his methods and outperformed fellow CONCACAF sides Mexico and the U.S., who failed to make it out of the group stage.

Canada, who will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and the U.S., gave Argentina a run for their money in the opening stages of the semi-final before goals from Julian Alvarez and Lionel Messi sealed a 2-0 win for the defending champions.

Argentina had defeated the Canadians by the same score in the tournament opener.

“What I said to the team afterwards is I know that they’re very disappointed, but I’m very proud of them,” Mr. Marsch told reporters. “We’ve put together some incredible performances, just starting our process.

“We need to find a way to expand our player pool. We need to continue to challenge our group to come together and be able to perform in moments like this.

“But in general, we’ve had a wonderful five-six weeks together and it’s gone way better than any of us could have scripted. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’ve built a really good foundation.”

Canada’s semi-final appearance marks their deepest run at a major tournament outside the Gold Cup and they have a third-placed playoff to come on Saturday against Uruguay or Colombia.

“I’m trying to really build and develop every single player in this pool so that we can have a real 26-man squad when it comes to 2026,” Mr. Marsch added.

“So the match on Saturday will also be vital for that because we‘ll make some changes, we’ll get some new faces on the pitch and challenge them to be able to see if they can hold up in these kinds of matches.”