Sigi Schmid, one of the most accomplished and respected coaches in U.S. Soccer history, has passed away. He was 65.
Schmid coached for more than 40 years, positively impacting hundreds of players and earning success at all levels of boys’ and men’s soccer in the United States while coaching youth club, college, professionally and internationally. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame as a builder in 2015.
“Sigi loved working with players, analyzing the game and building winning teams, while playing attractive, attacking soccer,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro. “His career spanned the incredible growth of the game in the modern era of American Soccer and certainly no one contributed more than Sigi. He touched the lives of countless players and was a mentor to many who would also go on to have a positive impact on the game. Our entire U.S. Soccer community is thankful for his dedication and passion. He will be missed.”
Schmid passed away on Tuesday, December 25, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Born in Tübingen, West Germany, he moved to the USA with his family at the age of four, landing in Torrance, California, one of the epicenters of the youth soccer boom in the 1960s and 1970s. Schmid was one of the first players to participate in AYSO and later went on to star as a midfielder at UCLA from 1972-75.
Schmid served as an assistant coach for the Bruins from 1977-1979 before taking over head coaching duties in 1980. During his 19-year tenure at UCLA, Schmid amassed a 322-63-33 record and won three NCAA Championships, in 1985, 1990 and 1997. He was named NCAA Coach of the Year in 1997. His UCLA alumni had a major impact on U.S. Soccer history, a who's who list that includes Paul Caligiuri, Cobi Jones, Brad Friedel, David Vanole, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra, Eddie Lewis, Joe-Max Moore, Chris Henderson and Nick Rimando.
While at UCLA, Schmid served in varying roles with the U.S. Soccer Federation, working as an assistant under Bora Milutinovic at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and head coach at the 1995 Pan American Games. Schmid had two tenures at the helm of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team, leading the side out of the group stage at both the 1999 and 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.
Schmid moved to MLS in 1999 with the Los Angeles Galaxy, winning MLS Coach of the Year in his first season. This set the course for four more trophies: the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup, 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and 2002 MLS Cup and Supporters Shield. Schmid found continued success with the Columbus Crew, culminating in the MLS Cup and Supporters Shield Double and another MLS Coach of the Year award in 2008. Schmid became the first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC in 2009, where he led the club to an MLS record-tying four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles as well as the 2014 Supporters Shield. The Sounders were the first team in 42 years to win three-straight U.S. Open Cups when he did so from 2009 to 2011.
Most recently, Schmid served in his second stint as coach of his hometown team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, coaching the team for part of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Schmid has held the record for most wins by an MLS head coach since 2009. The second MLS coach to record 100 wins, he became the first to 200 wins and also holds the MLS record for most games coached. Schmid had a 240-183-125 regular-season record over 19 seasons with the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew SC and Seattle Sounders FC.