Seattle Sounders FC closing in on Schmid

SigiSchmid (AP) 

Just two days after becoming the first coach in MLS history to win MLS Cup titles with two different teams, Sigi Schmid stands poised to try to win a title with a third team.

Schmid is on the verge of accepting a deal to become the first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC, multiple sources within MLS told SBI on Tuesday. Schmid's current contract with the MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew expires on Sunday, meaning he could be introduced as Seattle's head coach as soon as Monday.

Crew owner Clark Hunt stated on Sunday that he believed talks had been going well with Schmid and that he hoped to sign Schmid to a new deal, but Seattle's ownership group has made Schmid a strong offer that sources say Schmid is prepared to accept. Details of the Seattle contract offer were unavailable at this time.

New England assistant Paul Mariner had also been considered a strong candidate for the position, but Schmid remains Seattle's top target and the sides are close to an agreement to bring Schmid back to the West Coast four years after being fired by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Schmid led the Galaxy to the 2002 MLS Cup title.

If and when a Schmid-to-Seattle deal is finalized, the Crew will be expected to turn to former Crew standout and long-time assistant coach Robert Warzycha to take over as head coach. Warzycha is one of the most respected assistants in MLS.

While Warzycha is likely to replace Schmid, Crew assistant Mike Lapper is expected to join Schmid's staff in Seattle, along with former Seattle Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer.

What do you think of Schmid going to Seattle? Is it a smart move for him? Do you love the move for Seattle? Do you think Warzycha is ready to take over and keep the Crew as title contenders?

Share your thoughts below.

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53 Responses to Seattle Sounders FC closing in on Schmid

  1. mike from linden says:

    Schmid is a great coach, but now it seems he has the “Jose Mourinho” sickness.

    the “Jose Mourinho” sickness = Getting to confident in his own abilities.

  2. Sterlinho says:

    It’s hard to argue with two MLS Cups. It’s a good pick for Seattle.

  3. Sterlinho says:

    Wait, I just thought about Bruce Arena. Disregard the comment about MLS Cups.

  4. Darwin says:

    Seattle’s management is bringing it! You have to respect that. From the signings they are making, along with the 18,000 season tickets that they have sold( not deposits), every thing that orginization is doing is first class. As a NYRB/MLS fan, im happy to get another quality expansion side join the league.

  5. jordancda says:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSS! Love this for Seattle. More than a big name, I just wanted someone who has proven they understand MLS and can win in it. To get both of those AND a big name is fantastic. To get a coach who has won the MLS Cup TWICE with different teams (both of which he constructed) is beyond fantastic. I think this is the biggest splash the Sounders could have made without going the foreign route (and we’ve seen plenty of times how poorly coaches do who do not understand MLS’s system).

    Needless to say, as a northwest native and Sounders supporter, I love this deal and hope its announced soon. The only coach I may have otherwise preferred would have been Dom Kinnear and he wasn’t going anywhere.

  6. Oranje Mike says:

    They’re not messing around in Seattle. Much respect. I wish the Fire acted like this.

  7. m_____s says:

    As a Sounders fan, I’m on board, too.

    The sentimental pick was always going to be Brian Schmetzer, who is a local legend, but the proven route is proven for a reason: It’s worked.

  8. Evan says:

    The deal is 4 years, 2 million dollars guarenteed.

  9. Is it possible to be on a roll before you have 11 players?


  10. John says:

    I’m not in the tank for Schmid. I thought he brutally mishandled Adu when he coached him with one of our U-sides. I don’t think he’s very versatile as a coach in the schemes that he plays.

    But he’s got a superb track record at growing American college talent–he sees potential, he connects with Americans, he’s patient, and he gets improvement. There are not a lot of coaches in MLS history who can consistently say that (maybe Nicols, Bradley and Arena–and maybe not Arena). His teams are always organized. And they’re defensively sound.

    That said, it’s been clear for 3 years now that what Columbus needs is a strong finisher. If they’d have added a decent (not great) goal scorer they’d have been in the playoffs in 2007. And he never did that. And for his talents at growing American collegians, his track record outside of America is spotty. He grabbed Ruiz and then Schelotto. But his record of foreign imports and production with U20/Gen-Ad/P-40 players is weak. And I think he’s tactically limited–with almost all of his teams he has the Bruce Arena disease of wanted to play with fast attacking outside backs in a back 4 (so guys like Wynne and Hejduk are very popular with Schmid as well as Arena).

    But he’s clearly a solid coach who knows MLS and given time, will produce a good team. He’s probably a good choice for an expansion team because of his focus on organization and clarity around roles on the field.

    As for Columbus–great enjoying that Championship celebration this offseason wasn’t it? Likely to lose a starter (I bet it’s Evans) in the expansion draft, lose your head coach, you have to wonder if this affects Schelotto’s decision whether or not to return, everyone’s talking about how Marshall is a lock to go to Europe this offseason (contract is out, he’s already drawn suitors).

  11. adam says:

    just goes to show you that you need MINIMUM 3 years to build a team in MLS. teams (mainly RB) should take notice. if you do not give a new coach at least 3 years to remove old pieces/acquire new pieces that they will then use to ultimately acquire the guys they want then you will have constant turnover. i think that seattle will give sigi that and he will be raising another mls cup within 3 years…

  12. ag nigrin says:

    Sigi wants to be closer to his family. He would be 2 hours away by plane from Seattle vs 8 hours away from Columbus… I have been in a commuter marriage and it is tough to be away from one’s loved ones…plus I am sure he can make more $ coaching for Seattle!

  13. Tom R says:

    Sigi is the Phil Jackson of the MLS. The Crew should pay hims whatever to keep him. Chnaces are it is probably not enough. Sigi wants to return to the left coast near his family and I cannot say I blame him one bit.

  14. kebzach says:

    Schmid is a great coach, but now it seems he has the “Jose Mourinho” sickness.

    the “Jose Mourinho” sickness = Getting to confident in his own abilities.

    Posted by: mike from linden


    Name any coach that isn’t confident. And, name any coach that turns down record-setting deals to stay where they are.

    Look at the NBA, NCAA football or basketball, or even coaches in the NFL as they move up for examples aplenty.

  15. luis says:

    maybe he left eddie gaven unprotected knowing that he was going to be the sounders coach!

  16. Rene says:

    As an LA Galaxy fan, I’m glad he achieved success with Columbus and am glad he’ll get a chance to build another team into a contender. It’s hard to be away from family and he’ll definitely be much more comfortable being only 2 hours away from his wife and sons rather than 8 (like ag nigrin posted above). Good luck Sigi!

  17. Matt Y says:

    This has been a done deal for a while now. Many in the Seattle soccer community have know about it for a week plus…

    It sounds trivial…but I just can’t get past sigi’s gut…he’s a fat out of shape slob.

    I guess he can coach…but as a Sounders season ticket holder I wish they’d find someone that looks professional and can coach.

  18. TheUltra says:

    Damn I hope this isn’t true, FCD’s unproven coach gets a big fat contract. Meanwhile the Crew have a proven coach and they can’t pony up the dough. I really really hope this isn’t true.

  19. scott47a says:

    We will welcome Sigi with open arms.

    I’m sure the boys at ECS are already working on his song!

  20. Brant says:

    Even if The Crew lose Evans or Gaven, it’s not like they don’t have guys right behind them to step in. Ekpo played for Gaven during Olympic quals, and Evans was behind Moffatt on the depth chart ’til Moffatt got hurt at the beginning of the season.

    The question about Sigi is whether or not he wants to try to defend the MLS title, or if he wants to be closer to family. It’s not about building a team from scratch – he already did that. It’s about whether or not his family is OK with him being that far away for another year, while he tries to defend the title.

    As for Warzycha – he took over after Andrulis was fired, and won 8 of his 14 games for a team that was *really* bad. I got no problem with him taking the reins.

  21. Reed says:

    god, i love my team. go ssfc!

  22. eric says:

    Very interesting post, John. I wasn’t paying as much attention to the U-20’s, but I don’t remember being so impressed with them under him. Still, his job in Columbus was masterful.

    But that’s really funny if he had a say in who they left available to the team he knew he wanted to join. Columbus was deep, but there are 4 great choices available. That would be hilarious revenge for the contract BS they gave him, waiting until the end.

  23. Ceez says:

    Matt Y: Please tell me what looks have to do with coaching ability. I’m guessing you’re going to the games to look at the pretty coach? Come on man.

  24. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Wow, thats pretty intense.

    Seattle looks like they might be pretty dangerous right off the bat.

  25. Ceez says:

    And scott47a: did you mean to say ecs or ESC?

  26. Karl says:

    Ha Ha Judas Ha Ha…

  27. roberto says:

    very exciting what is happening with Seattle … Right from the start. I don’t remember any other expansion teams getting so lucky, quite the opposite they were struggling with depth in their rosters… Remember San Jose this year? Chivas?? RSL???? Hell metros/ rbulls have been struggling 13 years ( they never got a decent team… Seattle has it too easy. But I’m glad and will be following them.

  28. CD says:

    I would be very curious how responsible Schmid was for the expansion draft decisions in Columbus. Allowing him to make that decision and go to another team would not be very fair for the competitiveness of the league.

    I would prefer Columbus spends their cash on Guillermo Barros Schelotto and I think they can be fine without Schmid.

    If Seattle has the cash to spend on a top coach more power to them. They are going to have a very good team next year.

  29. nate says:

    i think this would be great tactically and mentally for seattle to pick of sigi and possibly become the best expansion team the MLS has ever seen. we have stars like freddie ljungburg, and aging but great kasey keller. anyways with sigi leading us we could almost easily get to the playoffs.

    go sounders!

  30. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Hey Sigi, please leave JoSmith alone

  31. Fid says:

    Sigi had nothing to do with The Crew’s unprotected list – all indications are that Brian Bliss and Robert selected the list of players listed by Columbus.

    As for the ‘deal being done for weeks’ as many in Seattle have stated, I can only say if true – I hope HSG files tampering charges against the Sounders organization immediately.

  32. Slyboy says:

    Seattle will do well, but will not… i repeat not make the playoffs their first year.

  33. andyinseattle says:

    Seattle: get ready for Sigi, because you’re not. The guy will do what he wants, FO and Supporters be damned. Things you wouldn’t expect – from trading Keller to benching Ljundberg are within the realm of possibilities with this guy.

    I personally think Seattle is too self assured to withstand such a coach. You think SSFC has it all figured out, but Sigi won’t really care what they’ve figured out so far. Be patient and you’ll get the double. Precedence is 3-4 years.

  34. scott47a says:

    I meant ECS — Emerald City Supporters.

    And Shawn Mitchell over at the Columbus Dispatch made it pretty clear that Sigi didn’t have anything to do with the protected list.

    I think the Crew are OK no matter who Sounders FC grab from their roster. Obviously they would love to start Ekpo next year at a cheaper salary than Gaven. And Moffat replaces Evans, or vice-versa. Noonan was almost a non-factor in the title run. So they will be OK no matter who they lose. And I’m sure they will lose someone. They and Houston have the deepest lists to choose from. The Galaxy and D.C. United’s lists aren’t promising at all.

  35. Rudy says:

    Please Sigi, take Pete Vagenas!!!

  36. fcmuenchweiler says:

    If this is, in fact, true…bank on Eddie Gaven heading to Seattle to provide a nice 1-2 midfield punch with Ljunberg. I also think they’ll add Jacqua to accompany LeTeux. After that, I’d say they’ll probably go for a guy like Lider Marmol who is both a center back and D-mid…his versatility will be a blessing (and don’t forget the war between NYRB and the Fire for his services). Not sure what they’ll do at defense, but bank on it being serviceable with Schmid. With that attack and Keller in goal, I don’t think it’ll be out of the question for Seattle becoming a playoff team next season.

  37. Jason says:

    I don’t think $$ is the big issue, I think it’s being close(er) to family.

    Still, I wish we’d have locked him up. But I do have some faith in Robert if it comes to that.

  38. orly says:

    “just goes to show you that you need MINIMUM 3 years to build a team in MLS” -Posted by: adam


    Oh, really?


    Bob Bradley, Frank Yallop, and Peter Novak

  39. Brant says:

    To those of you talking about Gaven and Evans being left available… take a look at the protected list and tell me who you swap them for?







    If you want to protect Evans, Gaven, or Noonan, you gotta leave someone else off the list. Who?

  40. Jim Steverson says:

    As a Crew fan, I say good for Sigi if this is what he elects to do. Warzycha is ready to take over and has the respect and support of the players. In terms of a coaching transition, it’d be an extremely smooth one.

    As for the expansion draft, Brant is dead-on. Moffat and Ekpo are capable midfielders and Evans was seen as expendable in that grouping. He’d a solid player and would make a great pick by Seattle. Gaven has a high price tag so it’ll be interesting to see if the Sounders go that direction.

    Bigger issues for the Crew are getting Schelotto, Chad, and Rogers back in Columbus next year.

  41. drock says:

    Rogers is already signed for next year. No worries there.

    Regardless of what happens, I understand Sigi’s circumstances and will wish him the best and cheer him, however, wish him limited success when he plays the Crew.

    That goes for all of the 2008 Crew players. I will never boo or jeer them if they join another team. They brought home the Cup, and I will never forget that.

  42. aristotle says:

    It’s hard for me to fathom that so many people think Arena is a bad coach, but think Schmid is a great coach.

    Schmid was a VERY boring coach and effective in an ugly way sometimes. Always obsessed with defense and not taking chances. Sometimes this method was successful, and sometimes it was not, but it was always ugly and painful to watch.

    He had success at the college level because ugly defensive soccer can be very successful because there is so little skill to overcome it. This maybe where Sigi got his ugly and boring coaching style.

    When Schmid was fired from the Galaxy when the Galaxy were in first place, it was well deserved. A lot of people like to make a big deal out of this, but the fact that the Galaxy did very little right after Schmid left has nothing to do with the decision to fire Schmid. That decision may have been the last thing they got right. Who cares if you’re winning (I don’t believe he would have kept the Galaxy in first place anyway) if no one wants to see you play?

    Schmid was coaching poorly for an extended period of time. He was extremely close to being fired by Columbus, and given the way he was coaching, he should have been fired. People will say that’s crazy because now all of a sudden the Crew are champions, but they only became champions and turned things around because Schmid finally woke up and smelled the roses.

    Schmid developed a Jekyll and Hyde complex while he was struggling. Playing ugly defensive soccer with no risks was ingrained in him. He had to hit rock bottom before he finally decided he had nothing to lose since he was about to be fired and having very little success playing ugly boring soccer. It’s only when he decided to take some chances on skilled players and play more offense and take risks that he started to turn things around. He reverted briefly back to his old ways when a relatively successful streak with an offensive and more exciting style of play stopped working for a while. It stopped working because he needed a few more players, not because of the style of play. When his old style became unsuccessful again, he dared to try the new style again and this time with the right players it worked.

    He did a good job under those circumstances and deserves credit, but I think he will inevitably revert back to his old style as soon as he stops winning. Moving to Seattle gives him the chance to avoid the high expectations at Columbus, and boost his reputation and worth while not having much expected of him in Seattle. Although I don’t see it that way. With the best expansion draft ever, and the players already in place, and a few more additions, Seattle should easily be above average in their first season with a good coach. I’ll only believe Sigi is a good coach when he finally leaves his old style and strategy behind for good.

    Everyone commence calling me crazy……!

  43. Fred says:

    I heard the contract is $4 mil over four years plus 20 buck-a-brat nights.

  44. bayonetbrant says:

    Aristotle – wasn’t LA leading the league in goals at the time? And was Columbus #2 or 3 this year?

    I disliked Sigi for years b/c his UCLA team in the 1990 NCAA tournament played 7 (seven!) defenders and shut down what was then the most-prolific NCAA attack ever, my NC State Wolfpack (the Guitierrez / Tanner / Schweitzer / Brose / Lassiter team) and played for a shootout and won (it was while I was a student at NC State)

    But the man wins. People say they want a winner and he wins. If you want excitement without winning, go cheer for Tottenham. If you want a winning team, he’s a good way to do it.

    Now, as I said, Warzycha is a perfectly capable replacement.

    As I noted elsewhere:

    End of last year, when Ives’ old blog had the question about whether or not Sigi should keep his job, I was a disgruntled Crew fan. But I was willing to stick by Sigi.

    Ives’ post, with 1/2 of my screed in the comments below: link to

    My full & extended comments, that for some reason wouldn’t post to the old blog correctly: link to

  45. bol says:

    Thanks God no fat guy anymore! We need Robert Warzycha in Columbus.

  46. aristotle says:

    bayonetbrant: (Formerly Brant?)

    You said: “Aristotle – wasn’t LA leading the league in goals at the time? And was Columbus #2 or 3 this year?”

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. I didn’t say Sigi was playing defensively this year, that was the point.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re a member of the winning ugly is better than not winning club. There are plenty of teams that win and don’t play ugly defensive soccer. I guess I’m more concerned with being entertained than winning. I thought that was what soccer was supposed to be about. That’s why I have always supported the South American teams over the European teams in the world cup. There have been some heartbreaking losses in the world cup by teams that were more talented and far more fun to watch than the teams that beat them, but I would still rather support the teams playing soccer the way it was meant to be played than the ugly teams that beat them. Brazil is an obvious team that comes to mind. They have had some fantastic teams bounced out of the world cup, (one of them may have been the best team ever) but they have won more than anyone else despite this. I remember Italy and Germany beating Brazil and France in the semi-finals and ruining what probably would have been the best world cup final ever, but I enjoyed watching those teams lose much more than watching the boring final between Italy and Germany, and I would never have supported teams like that no matter how many times they won.

    I don’t think Sigi will win in Seattle. Schelotto made him look MUCH better than he is. Schelotto saved his career. I think his move will be much better for Columbus than it will be for Seattle. I’m guessing you’re a big fan and admirer of New England. That’s another team that’s won a ton- even though they never got the championship- by playing excruciating soccer.

  47. bayonetbrant says:

    “bayonetbrant: (Formerly Brant?)”

    Same guy… my Typepad account finally kicked in and so I sometimes show up under either name depending on whether or not I’m signed in through TypeP

  48. drock says:

    Thanks God no fat guy anymore! We need Robert Warzycha in Columbus.

    Posted by: bol | November 26, 2008 at 09:01 AM

    I bet you still want a picture with that trophy that Sigi and boys brought home,right?

    I’ve got no doubts about Bob Rifle, but come on. How can you call yourself a Crew supporter and not like Sigi. He came out to the pub once a week to watch games and mingle with us supporters, not to mention blew up a bad roster.

    Without him there would have been no Guille, no Moreno, no Rogers, no Gaven (no other coach would have patience to work with him) no Evans, No Moffat, No Hesmer, No Gino….This were all his guys.

    I love Bob Rifle, but let’s hope Sigi is still sporting his Crew scarf come March 21st, 2009.

  49. Dennio says:

    “Who cares if you’re winning…if no one wants to see you play?” -aristotle

    That has to be the stupidest comment I’ve ever read. So you’d rather play beautifully and lose?

    A win is a win is a win. Everyone likes attractive soccer, but they love victories more.

  50. aristotle says:


    You said: “That has to be the stupidest comment I’ve ever read. So you’d rather play beautifully and lose?”

    Wow! Talk about jaded. If a “win is a win” and that’s all that matters, then why do you need to watch soccer? Why don’t you just follow any sport and any team or athlete that wins nearly all of the time? What an ignorant comment. It’s people like you who spoil sports. You probably go to little league and scream at your kids for not winning. You probably change teams every year according to who is winning.

    Victories no matter what is for the business side of the game, and not for the fans. In fact, even from a business point of view, there are teams that are now concerned with HOW they win. Chelsea is a good example. It’s funny how you rarely see more fans show up in MLS when a team is winning. The better teams like New England get, the less anyone wants to watch them. MLS fans really seem pre-occupied with the quality of the game? Who cares if you win? Moron.

    In answer to your question, yes, I would rather lose playing great soccer, but if you’re playing great soccer you don’t have to.

  51. Tony H says:

    “When Schmid was fired from the Galaxy when the Galaxy were in first place, it was well deserved. A lot of people like to make a big deal out of this, but the fact that the Galaxy did very little right after Schmid left has nothing to do with the decision to fire Schmid. That decision may have been the last thing they got right.”


    Wow. Don’t know if I’ve ever read a more misguided post anywhere anytime. So far off base that it’s hysterical.

  52. aristotle says:

    Yet another of the people rushing to jump on the Schmid bandwagon. Has no knowledge of the game, just knows to follow the crowd. Probably one of the people who thought Arena was a great coach until the masses told him different, and then he jumped on that bandwagon.

  53. Reed says:

    “I’m sorry to hear you’re a member of the winning ugly is better than not winning club.”

    Your argument about defensive soccer being boring is the most ignorant sports analysis ever. Offenses win games. Defenses win championships. Championships are never ugly. Greece in Euro 2004 was amazing. Watch them destroy teams by playing great tactical defense, as a team, together. If Sigi wants to play “boring” soccer here in Seattle better than the rest of the league so be it. I’ll gladly watch a team here finally win a championship because of it.

    Perhaps figure skating is the kind of beautiful your looking for. Can’t play defense in that “sport.”