TUKWILA, Wash. – The sight of Sigi Schmid hobbling around on the Seattle Sounders’ sideline has been a constant for nearly a month since the team’s head coach suffered a broken bone in his left leg, but he has a new look thanks to a prominent friend in American soccer.
Schmid met the media Wednesday sporting a new pair of crutches given to him by Jurgen Klinsmann, Schmid’s longtime friend and the head coach of the U.S. national team.
Schmid said he recently walked into his office at the team’s Starfire Sports complex and found the crutches, but originally had no idea where they came from. Only later was it revealed they were a gift from Klinsmann, who was concerned about Schmid after the longtime Sounders boss slipped on his porch last month and broke his left fibula.
“He said he was tired of seeing me on those big, American, bulky crutches,” Schmid said. “I had no idea where they were from or who sent them. We were talking about something else and he says, ‘Oh by the way, did you like the crutches?’ I go, ‘Oh, so you were the one! It’s nice to know that you care.”
“It was nice … I appreciate Jurgen sending me the European crutches.”
Schmid’s new crutches provide more support at each forearm, instead of ones that support at each armpit. Since suffering the injury last month, Schmid has frequently been carted to and from the practice facility at Starfire Sports, and from the team locker room to the sideline on game days at CenturyLink Field.
They see me rollin'...https://t.co/83SVe2YuC5— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) April 19, 2016
He’s spent much of each match since the injury leaning on his crutches while coaching from the sidelines, but the injury never forced him to miss a match.
“At the very beginning I needed the other ones because they’re a little more stable,” Schmid said. “But these are definitely a lot easier to manipulate.”
Schmid met Klinsmann roughly 15 years ago after the German icon moved to Los Angeles, where Schmid was coaching the LA Galaxy. Klinsmann attended a number of the Galaxy’s practices in order to fulfill one of the requirements to earn his coaching license, and a friendship between the two coaches bloomed.
Schmid also has strong German roots and was born in Tuebingen, Germany, not far from Klinsmann’s hometown of Göppingen.
“We speak the same slang, so it makes it a lot easier,” Schmid said.
Schmid and Klinsmann speak regularly about Sounders players and potential call-ups to the USMNT – Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris are all in consideration to make Klinsmann’s roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario – but Schmid said player personnel issues rarely dominate the conversation.
“We talk about different things,” Schmid said. “Sometimes we’ll talk about players, but at the end of the day, that’s usually not our subject.”