MLS legendary head coach Sigi Schmid passes away

Former Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy head coach passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 25th, due to a personal health matter a statement from his family read.

Schmid left his indelible mark on three MLS franchises and before that, he was synonymous with winning at the college level namely UCLA. Before his jump to MLS in 1999, Schmid was a star midfielder for the Bruins from 1972–1975.

Schmid coached youth soccer in Los Angeles for several years before becoming a UCLA assistant in 1977. Schmid took on the head coaching duties in 1980 and went on to win three NCAA national championships ( 1985,1990 and 1997).

Schmid also worked with U.S. Soccer serving as an assistant coach for the US National team at the 1994 World Cup and was the head coach for the US Under-20 in 1998-1999 and 2005.

Schmid made the jump to MLS in 1999 as the head coach of the LA Galaxy (1999-2004) and won the first of his two doubles ( Shield and MLS Cup) in 2002. Schmid continued his winning ways when he took over the Columbus Crew head coaching duties (2006-2008) and registered another double with a Supporters Shield and MLS Cup title in 2008 with the Crew.

Schmid left the Crew and became the head coach of MLS expansion side Seattle Sounders in 2009. In Schmid’s seven-year tenure with the Sounders ( 2009-2016), he won four U.S Open titles ( 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014) and one Supporters Shield in 2014 as he turned the upstart Sounders expansion club into a perential title contender.

Schmid left the Sounders in 2016 and went back to the LA Galaxy in 2017 where he stayed until September 2018 when stepped away from the professional coaching ranks.

While the record books will keep Schmid’s winning legacy intact, it does not come close to telling the true tale of an amazing human being’s dramatic and enduring impact on and off the field.

Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. From Los Angeles to Columbus and Seattle, Sigi won more games than any coach in MLS history and led his clubs to multiple championships, including two MLS Cups and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups.

Sigi’s passion for soccer was unrivaled, and he was loved and admired by everyone in MLS. We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Valerie, their children, and all of his loved ones.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FRONT OFFICE CONDELENCES

SOUNDERS FC OWNER ADRIAN HANAUER “Today’s news comes as a shock and a devastating blow to our entire community across MLS and U.S. Soccer. Sigi was someone I respected immensely, not only for his success as a coach and dedication to his craft, but more importantly as a man and someone that truly left a positive mark on the people he encountered every day. He will be missed greatly by a lot of people, and on behalf of the soccer community here in Seattle, I can say that we would not be where we are now without him.” 

SOUNDERS FC GENERAL MANAGER & PRESIDENT OF SOCCER GARTH LAGERWEY 

“We are deeply saddened to hear of Sigi’s passing and our thoughts are with his family. He was a man of great class and I admired him both as a competitor and then as a colleague. His accomplishments in our league were vast, and his influence on U.S. soccer will leave a lasting legacy.

SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH BRIAN SCHMETZER 

“We are all deeply saddened to lose one of the most well-respected men in our soccer community, and extend our deepest condolences to his family. He was a man of great character and integrity. He helped launch our franchise with winning traditions, and I learned a lot from Sigi in our seven years of coaching together. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know the same can be said for our Sounders family and the greater Seattle soccer community.”

 SOUNDERS FC SPORTING DIRECTOR & VICE PRESIDENT OF SOCCER CHRIS HENDERSON 

“Sigi was a valued coach, mentor, family man and friend. My relationship with him goes all the way back to when he recruited me to play for him at UCLA. As a coach, he was not only a great soccer mind, but also an incredible motivator and an excellent teacher. It was then an honor to work alongside him in Seattle after my playing days were over, where he was instrumental for much of our success. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, and his memory will endure through the people who loved him.

STATEMENT FROM THE SCHMID FAMILY

“On Tuesday, December 25, Sigi Schmid passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles due to a personal health matter. Our family is deeply saddened by his passing and is taking this time to grieve the loss of a tremendous husband, father, leader and mentor.

We also recognize how much Sigi meant to so many people across the U.S. Soccer landscape and around the world at different levels of the game. That community meant a great deal to him as well, and for that reason, it was important to us that we share the news of his passing. While we mourn his loss, we appreciate privacy during this challenging time and will not be issuing further statements.

 In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks to please consider a memorial gift to support the men’s soccer program at UCLA, Sigi’s alma mater. Donations in memory of Sigi may be directed to the attention of Emily Lerner of UCLA Athletics at 310-206-3302 or elerner@athletics.ucla.edu.

Sigi Schmid Career Accomplishments:

  • All-time winningest MLS head coach (240 regular season wins)
  • MLS Cups: 2002, 2008
  • Supporters’ Shields: 2002, 2008, 2014
  • U.S. Open Cup titles: 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
  • Concacaf Champions Cup: 2000
  • NCAA national championships: 1985, 1990, 1997
  • MLS Coach of the Year: 1999, 2008
  • NCAA Coach of the Year: 1997
  • UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame: 1996
  • National Soccer Hall of Fame: 2015
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