Back in 1989, Sigi Schmid paired two star recruits at UCLA as roommates – one a winger, the other a forward. He knew that if that duo could form a great partnership it would mean spectacular things for the Bruins and for the careers of the two young men.
It paid off quickly for Schmid, as Chris Henderson and Joe-Max Moore led the Bruins to the 1990 College Cup and the tandem proved beneficial for the US National Team, where the two remained roommates, as well as Moore earned 100 caps, scoring 24 goals in his international career while Henderson made 79 appearances for the US. It also meant lengthy professional careers for both players
“It worked out pretty well,” laughed Schmid this week.
Rooming the two key players together was part of Schmid’s coaching philosophy that he still uses today.
In the Arizona leg of training camp, each player had one roommate at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande. Schmid strategically roomed new players to the club with veterans, mixing and matching players of similar position groups to help new players learn the ropes and get existing players to expand socially within the team.
In Florida, the players were in apartments of three and four players with similar strategies.
“In the preseason we like to match up a younger player with an older player, so that he’s not lost. He knows what we’re doing and when we’re doing it,” Schmid said. “It also is to match guys up that don’t room together during the season so they get to know other people. You find out about people and sometimes from that you end up finding your roommate for the year.”
This season with the Sounders, that meant pairing Adam Johansson with Mauro Rosales to help the right side of the field for the Sounders grow better acquainted with each other in hopes that can form a quick partnership.
“Allowing them to get together and help in Adam’s assimilation into the team,” Schmid said. “Knowing that they were going to play together on the right side, I thought it would be a good way for them to understand each other.”
During the season, players choose their roommates on the road, ensuring that the early risers can pair together, along with the movie buffs, gamers and readers.
Some of those relationships are built over longtime friendships. Others are just the result of a small piece of coaching.