Sigi Schmid: American Soccer Legend

Good morning Raving Readers. I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I started a new job and it’s fantasy draft season. Also the Sounders have mostly been taking care of business without much drama or headlines. The one exception being the health of coach Sigi Schmidt.

My wife and I were in the rainy stands last weekend when Brian Schmetzer was announced as coach. Everyone in the cheap seats was perplexed with Sigi’s unexpected absence. When Schmetzer mentioned Sigi was ill in his postgame presser, perplexity became concern. I can’t begin to imagine what exactly Sigi suffered Saturday morning that necessitated his being kept in the hospital until Tuesday. If it kept him from coaching, it must’ve been pretty serious. Fortunately Sigi returned to Sounders practice yesterday and seemed none the worse for wear (expect he won’t travel with the team to San Jose).

Yes we’re in a white-knuckle playoff race. Yes we’re playing a big 6-pointer against the Quakes tomorrow night. But Sigi’s well-being is in the forefront of my mind.

We’ve had big stars (Freddie, Fredy, Eddie, Oba, Dempsey) and their faces have filled banners and billboards, but Sigi has always been the franchise. Sigi has been THE Sounders since their inception. Or rather, before their inception, as he was the club’s first mega signing. Seattle’s ability to ransack the MLS Cup champion and Supporters’ Shield winner’s coach was a shot across MLS’s bow. This club, though an expansion, was ambitious and playing for keeps and it all started with Sigi.

Sigi has brought a winning mentality to this club. His record in MSL is unparalleled: a 231-155-113 record (regular season and playoffs), 2 MLS Cups, 3 Supporter’s Shields, 5 US Open Cups, and even an esoteric CONCACAF Champions Cup. Even in the dark days of American top-flight soccer, Sigi was coaching winners. At UCLA, he won over 300 games and 3 national championships. His commitment to the game has been great for American soccer. When Dempsey signed here he said:

“It was important for me to be in Seattle because of the fan base, the atmosphere, and because Sigi is the coach. He’s done so much for the American game.”

Though solely plying his trade in the States, Sigi’s reputation is known far and wide. When Seattle was first scouting Obafemi Martins at Levante, Sigi’s presence alone was a major sell. Martins once recounted seeing Sigi at training in Valencia and asked his teammates “What’s Sigi doing here?” Martins was flattered the coach travelled to scout him, adding, “Everybody knows Sigi.”

Seattle knows Sigi and we know we need him healthy, rested and well for playoffs. My thoughts and warm wishes go out to him and his family as he hopefully recovers quickly. I look forward to him further cementing his legend.


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