On Monday, MLS coaching great Sigi Schmid and the Los Angeles Galaxy mutually agreed to part ways.
After returning to the Galaxy for his second stint with the team, he won’t be able to finish his first full year with the squad. He was hired back on July 27, 2017, after the Galaxy fired Curt Onfalo. There was excitement coming into this season, with Sigi’s track record of winning. With 6 games left before the playoffs, the Galaxy are falling off, winless in its last 6 matches (0-3-3) The Galaxy haven’t won a game since July, 29th, a 4-3 win against Orlando City. the club is losing ground to Vancouver and red-hot Seattle. LA is a squad that has players that have played in some of the best leagues in the world like Ibrahomovic, the Dos Santos brothers, Ashley Cole, etc. This is unacceptable for LA’s standards. despite their own players obliviously being older, they should still be good enough to make the playoffs with the roster they have.
The Galaxy have been the face of the young and growing MLS. With a trophy case that contains 5 MLS Cups, 4 Supporters Sheilds, 2 US Open Cups, and 1 CONCAF Champions League. While also putting out players like Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and of course the MLS savior himself … David Beckham. They have been the standard of excellence in the MLS for many years.
Sigi was always able to find diamonds in a rough, but he seemed like he didn’t know what do when he had the diamonds to begin with.
His long coaching career started in college. He was the UCLA’s men’s soccer team coach, he held this job for 19 years qualifying for 16 straight playoff appearances and winning three men’s Soccer National Championships! With his success on the pitch and the development of future young American stars like Cobi Jones, Brad Friedel, and Matt Reis, Sigi was invited to work with the youth of the US National team, having even been an assistant for the US in the 1994 world cup, this is what was able to kickstart his career.
In 1999 the MLS came calling and the LA Galaxy hired him to be their next head coach. He made a name for himself right away in the MLS, implementing his defensive first style. In 2000 LA won it’s first and only CONCAF Champions league, which has historically been dominated by Liga MX. In 2002 Schmid finally won his first MLS Cup, implementing a formation that we often see today- the 3-5-2- Schmid was known for being a defensive minded coach, but this formation helped create more attacking opportunities for the Galaxy which allowed them to hoist the cup. After a bad ending in Hollywood, he was fired in 2004 after a 5 game skid, being criticized by players, front office, media, and fans. Sounds like a prelude right?
Sigi took a year off, and was able to find a new job with the Columbus Crew in 2006, his tenure started off shaky but he was able to turn it around. It all started with the signing of one of Columbus’s biggest acquisitions in their short history, signing Boca Junior great Guillermo Barros-Schelotto. With the help of Schelotto, the Crew was able to win their first MLS Cup in franchise history, beating New York Red bull 3-1. With Columbus being such a small market and didn’t have owners who were capable of spending money, it was impressive that he won an MLS Cup with the Crew. Unfortunately, around this time the MLS was changing. Beckham arrived in LA with the Galaxy in the summer of 2007, it changed the landscape and the way clubs run in the MLS. Top players around the world started thinking about playing in the MLS, there were more TV deals and sponsorships. They were lucky they could convince Schuletto to play for them, but Sigi realized columbus would not be able to compete with this new MLS.
So after the win and another bad divorce, Schmid decided to take on another challenge, as he accepted the job with the expansion Seattle Sounders. With Seattle being a bigger market as well as having a deep American soccer history, the move just simply made sense. Seattle was probably his best coaching performance yet. Although he failed to win a MLS Cup with Seattle, he put together very good squads, getting players like Freddy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso, US legend Clint Dempsy, Eddie Johnson, and Chad Marshall, but as well finding young American talents like Jordan Morris and DeAndre Yedlin. He created a standard for winning and consistentcy, in his 7 years as the Sounders head coach. He made the playoffs every season. He was also able to become the winningest coach in MLS history surpassing greats like Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena, and Dominic Kinnear, who ironically is taking over for him as interim head coach in LA. Unfortunately, playoff heartbreaks led to his departure from Seattle. It didn’t help when your arch rival in the biggest rivalry in the MLS wins the cup before you via the Portland Timbers. The front office had to make a tough decision. After a 6-12-2 start, he departed from the Sounders mid-way through the 2016 season. His replacement would be his assistant Brian Schmetzer, who formally was the Sounders coach before the expansion. Under Schmetzer the Sounders were able to win their first MLS Cup.
The career of Sigi Schmid was full of ups and downs, but that’s how coaching is. We should never forget what he was able to do for the sport of soccer in American coaching and developing so many US national team players. Schmid has a legacy coaches can hope they achieve with 2 MLS Cups, 5 US Open Cups, 1 CONCAF Champions league title, and 3 supporters shields. It should be fair to say that we’ve seen the last of Sigi Schmid on a sideline, but you never know! Danke Sigi Schmid!