SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that the club has agreed to mutually part ways with Head Coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid – the winningest Head Coach in Major League Soccer history and the first and only manager in Seattle’s MLS era – departs Sounders FC in his eighth season with the club, having taken the helm on December 16, 2008 prior to the organization’s inaugural campaign. After leading the club to a quartet of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, the 2014 MLS Supporters’ Shield and seven-consecutive MLS Cup Playoffs appearances, Schmid leaves Seattle following 20 regular-season matches this season, with the Rave Green currently occupying ninth place in the Western Conference with a 6-12-2 overall record (20 points). Longtime Seattle assistant and former USL Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer is assuming the role of Interim Head Coach, effective immediately.
“Sigi Schmid has been an invaluable member of Sounders FC since the club’s MLS launch, leading our organization to numerous trophies and a consistent winning culture for seven seasons,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “Sigi departs the club with our utmost respect and gratitude for his years of service. Ultimately the club and Sigi agreed that a change was needed at this time, but Sigi’s legacy will always be a part of our history. He has my sincere appreciation for all that he committed to our team and community.”
The only Head Coach Sounders FC has known in the club’s MLS era, Schmid came to Seattle from Columbus Crew SC in 2008 on the back of an MLS Cup title with the Central Ohio side. Schmid previously claimed the 2002 MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy, and overall his teams have captured 11 major titles. A two-time MLS Coach of the Year and recent National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Schmid just crossed the 500 regular-season MLS match threshold in June of 2016, becoming the first coach in league history to reach that mark. Schmid’s 228 regular-season victories rank first in MLS history, and he is currently second in postseason wins (26) behind LA’s Bruce Arena (30). Schmid’s final MLS regular-season record with Sounders FC is 115-79-56, with the club owning the second-best winning percentage in the league since 2009.
“I want to thank Seattle Sounders FC for the opportunity to lead this club over the past eight years, with particular gratitude to Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and the rest of the club’s ownership group. I’d also like to thank my coaches and technical staff for the support they’ve given me, and most importantly I want to thank my players for their tremendous effort throughout the years,” said Schmid. “I’m proud of the success we’ve achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven-straight seasons. My only disappointment is that we were unable to bring home an MLS Cup to our tremendous fans, who have always been supportive through good times and bad. In closing, I want to thank the Sounders FC organization, the club’s fans and the city of Seattle for this amazing run.”
Prior to his career in MLS, Schmid won three national titles (1985, 1990, 1997) with his alma mater, UCLA. He also twice served as the Head Coach of the United States U-20 National Team, most recently in 2005 at the FIFA World Championships.
"It's been a privilege to work with a legend like Sigi and I've learned a lot from him. We thank him for his many years of excellent service to this club,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “He established a foundation that led this franchise to one of the best launches in professional sports history. It will be tough for any coach to match the legacy of success he has established, and it is with a heavy heart that we part ways with such a respected figure. Brian Schmetzer will become our Interim Head Coach and we will begin a search to identify who will lead the players for the next several years. Stability and loyalty are hallmarks of this organization and it is incumbent upon us to reset the club and make good long-term decisions about our future in an effort to establish a championship contender.”
Schmetzer, 53, has served as Sounders FC’s Top Assistant Coach since the club’s MLS inception in 2009. The Seattle-native is one of the Puget Sound soccer community’s most recognizable figures after playing and coaching for the region’s top professional franchises since 1980. Prior to joining Schmid’s staff in MLS, Schmetzer helmed the Sounders for seven seasons in the United Soccer League from 2002-2008, guiding the club to USL-1 championships in 2005 and 2007, as well as a pair of Commissioner’s Cups for the league’s best regular-season record and six postseason appearances in seven years. He was named USL-1 Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading the Sounders to a 23-4-1 record and league championship, finishing his time in USL-1 with a 100-57-41 overall regular-season record.
On four different occasions, Schmetzer has filled in for Schmid for during MLS regular-season play, accumulating a record of 3-1-0. Schmetzer’s coaching career was preceded by a 15-year professional playing career, including stints with the North American Soccer League Sounders from 1980-1983 and the Sounders’ inaugural season in the A-League in 1994.
After a three-match road swing across all competitions, Sounders FC concludes a packed month of July with its second full-stadium contest of the season at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, July 31. ESPN is broadcasting the match nationally at 1:00 p.m. PT, with KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and El Rey 1360 AM providing regional radio coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. PT.
ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Winner of the 2014 MLS Supporters' Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle's Major League Soccer franchise. With an ownership group led by Seattle-based entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, Hollywood executive Joe Roth, Seattle Seahawks Chairman Paul G. Allen and entertainer Drew Carey, the club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007 and has reached the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year of its existence. Since the club's debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America by leading the league in attendance each year, culminating in the top six single-season attendance totals in league history and an active streak of 136 consecutive MLS sellouts. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974.