Seattle Sounders Commit to Sigi Schmid as Head Coach Moving Forward

Sigi SchmidLast Thursday, Seattle Sounders announced that they would bypass the hunt for a new manager and retain head coach Sigi Schmid for the 2014 season. After a two-hour sit down with the coach, owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer made firm his stance that Schmid was the right man going forward. Hanauer cited the coach’s leadership in the locker room and on the pitch.

In a conference call with reporters, majority owner Joe Roth said about the coach, “He is the leader of the players.” While he may have the support amongst those that play for him, Schmid is certainly on a thin rope with the fans.  Seattle is unlike any other city in the MLS. They have astronomical attendance in comparison to other teams and unwavering regional support.  The fans hold the team to high standards and every season brings a new desire for an MLS Cup.  In the five years that Schmid has been at the helm, such desire has not been satisfied.

However, when looking at Sigi Schmid’s resume it’s hard to argue that there’s a better man for the job. Coming to America from Germany when he was a young child, Schmid loved the game at an early age. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he started at midfield each of his four years at the school. He returned to UCLA as a coach in 1980 and led the Bruins to a 322W 63L 33D record in his 19 seasons with the school.  Schmid left UCLA and went to LA Galaxy during the 1999 MLS season.  There, he accumulated a record of 79W 53L 32D and led the Galaxy to an MLS Cup. In 2006, Schmid became the coach of Columbus Crew, where he won the Cup and continued to lead the team until the end of the 2008 season.

Sigi SchmidHe took over the Seattle Sounders in 2009, when they were coming into the league as an expansion team, and led them in to the playoffs. It was only the second time in MLS history that a first-year team was playing in the postseason. A third place finish in the Western Conference was backed by an appearance in the semi-finals and a US Open Cup Trophy.

In his second season with the club, the Sounders surged into the playoffs after winning 10 of their final 15 matches, but were eliminated in the semi-finals in front of a record-setting crowd. The next year, Schmid led the Sounders to their third straight conference semi-finals in a season where the club averaged an attendance of 38,496 per home match. In 2012, the team was the victim of another early playoff exit but not before they finished second-best in defense and fifth-best in offense.

This season, the Sounders finished fourth in the Western Conference and were eliminated by the Portland Timbers 5-3 on aggregate in the playoffs.  The ownership group proved to the fans that their commitment to winning was serious, bringing in Clint Dempsey and making him the highest paid player in Major League Soccer history.While Schmid has yet to lead this team to the MLS Cup, he has proven that he can put a quality product onto the pitch year in and year out. Club owner Roth stated:

“It’s two things. It’s results and character. We expect to get the results, we expect the team to have the character that we want it to, and if the team has the character we want it to, we’ll get the results.”

After hearing that statement from the owner, there is no contest that Schmid is the right man to lead the club. He has command of the locker room and the players go out and play hard for him. There is no lack of character on a team that features US national team players Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Brad Evans. With a few additional roster tweaks, the ownership group believes that Coach Schmid will lead the Sounders to the game’s biggest stage and ultimately to the MLS Cup that the great fans deserve.

Written by Daniel Fortenko

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Passionate Fanbase and Developing Squad Signal Bright Future for Seattle Sounders

Seattle SoundersWhen people think of Seattle, Washington, they think about the space needle, the famous fish market, and its close proximity to Canada. When they think of sports teams in Seattle, they think of the Seahawks, the Mariners, and the long gone Supersonics. But what most miss is the magic that the Seattle Sounders bring to the Emerald City. Although they are dubbed an expansion team by Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders aren’t new to Seattle.

How is this possible, you may ask? Because the team actually came into existence in the year 1974 as a member of the North American Soccer League (NASL), a league that no longer exists. The city’s love for the team was not enough to keep it around, and the club shut down operations in 1983. When Major League Soccer announced the first seven cities it would award a team too in 1994, Seattle was not included on the list. Searching for answers, Seattle’s soccer fans were told that they were not given a Major League Soccer team because of the lack of a soccer-specific pitch in the area.

The city would continue to be shunned by the MLS until 2007, when Adrian Hanauer teamed up with Hollywood stud Joe Roth to make a bid for MLS expansion. Paul Allen, co-founder of Seattle-based Microsoft, joined the ownership group that same year, raising hopes that this would finally be the city’s time to join into the MLS world. On November 13, 2007, it was announced that Seattle had been granted its long awaited soccer team. Matches would be played at the home of the Seahawks, then known as Qwest Field. The fans voted to officially name their team “Seattle Sounders FC,” and on May 28, 2008, the first jerseys and a sponsorship with Microsoft were announced.

The Seattle Sounders played their first home game on March 19, 2009 and gave a crowd of 32,523 exactly what they had deserved, a 3-0 romping over the New York Red Bulls. The Sounders went on to become only the second MLS expansion team to play their way into the playoffs in their first season. A 3rd place finish in the West was backed by an appearance in the conference semi-finals and a US Open Cup trophy.

Seattle SoundersThe 2010 season began with a roar for the Sounders, who defeated the Philadelphia Union with the score of 2-0. Their good fortunes quickly changed and they would go on to lose eight of their next fourteen matches. The fans proved to be a powerful 12th man on the field and the Sounders surged into the playoffs by defying odds and winning ten of their final fifteen matches. They were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Los Angeles Galaxy, but not before setting a single-season attendance record, averaging 36,173 fans per match.

The following season brought a familiar atmosphere to CenturyLink Field. Fans wearing their Sounder Blue and Rave Green shirts poured into the stadium as the Sounders began 2011 by hosting the opening match of the MLS season. They would continue to do so all season long as the Sounders overall record for the season ended in eighteen wins, nine draws, seven losses, and a late playoff exit in the Western Conference Semifinal against the skilled Real Salt Lake. Once again, the fans showed their unwavering support, averaging a whopping 38,496 per match.

Last season signaled a record of 15-8-11. Even while racking up a total of 56 points, the Sounders were two points shy of the third-highest point total in the league, while finishing second-best in defense and fifth-best in offense. Most teams would love those stats, but another exit from the playoffs without the MLS Cup left the Sounders fan base disappointed and hungry for personnel changes.

Currently, the Seattle Sounders are tied for first place in the Western Conference with 51 points and have just recently made the league’s biggest  transaction in acquiring Clint Dempsey. They lead the league in attendance, averaging  43,180 a match, and while nobody can be sure of how the rest of the season will unravel, it is certain that this franchise will continue to grow and become a staple of the city of Seattle within a matter of years.

Written by Daniel Fortenko