Usually when Sigi Schmid’s name is announced at CenturyLink Field, he is in the locker room giving last-minute instructions to the Sounders FC as they near kickoff.
On Sunday, he had a chance to enjoy the round of applause and introduction as the crowd of 67,936 celebrated the Sounders coach raising the 12th Man flag just before Steven Hauschka launched the opening kickoff of a 20-13 Seahawks victory in the regular season finale over the St. Louis Rams.
“It’s a great honor,” Schmid beamed in an interview with Seahawks.com.
Schmid joins the ranks of great Seattle coaches like longtime Sonics coach Lenny Wilkens, UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, UW football’s Don James and legendary Seahawks coaches Jack Patera and Chuck Knox, among others. He also becomes the third member of the Sounders organization to raise the flag, joining owner Drew Carey and former goalkeeper and current color analyst Kasey Keller.
With record-setting attendances each season and an ever-growing presence in the sports community, the Sounders fit right into the Seattle sports landscape and the relationship between the Seahawks and Sounders, buoyed by the ownership of Paul Allen, is one that has helped the club gain that stronghold.
“The city is fantastic. It’s a great sports town. It’s embraced both franchises,” Schmid said. “The cooperation between ourselves and the Seahawks has been great. They’re the big brother. They’ve been here a lot longer than us. But they’ve taken us under their wing and they’ve shared so much with us. It’s been a tremendous relationship.”
The Sounders are in the midst of the off-season and will start training camp for their fifth season in Major League Soccer on January 21. They open the regular season March 2 at CenturyLink Field against the Montreal Impact.