Sigi Schmid is the All-Time Winningest MLS Head Coach
After 18 seasons with the LA Galaxy, the Columbus Crew, and the Seattle Sounders, Schmid held the record of the MLS winningest head Coach with 266 regular-season and postseason victories. I met Sigi twice — each time he was charming, patiently answering all my questions. His death is a great loss to the American game.
There are leaders in every field who make a difference and want to mentor others.
In soccer, Sigi Schmid was one of those rare people who impacted the beautiful game and raised the bar — becoming the all-time most winningest MLS head coach.
While his last tenure at the LA Galaxy was not a stellar example or typical of his reign as head coach, Sigi Schmidt has left a legacy few can even dream of approaching.
Sigi Schmidt passed away on December 25 at the age of 65.
Schmidt had earned 240 MLS regular season victory plus an additional 26 wins in the postseason.
More than a head coach, Schmid loved teaching. He was passionate about sharing his insights and devotion to developing players. A figure commanding respect, Sigi was a coach who wanted to see his players succeed and was disciplined on the pitch.
After a highly respected and long run at UCLA, Schmidt turned his talents to the pro side of the game.
German-born and California raised, Schmid won more honors than most — hoisting the 2002 MLS Cup with LA Galaxy and the 2008 MLS Cup with Columbus Crew SC plus being two-time MLS Coach of the Year winner in 1999 and 2008 and scores of other accomplishments — he was a living legend.
Schmid kicked off the Seattle Sounders in 2009 where he earned four US Open titles and continued to raise the quality of the game in the USA.
As a youth player in Southern California, Schmidt first hit the field with Schmid played for the inaugural American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) team. He attended UCLA and played for the Bruins as the starting midfielder and earned a Masters from USC.
READ SoundersatHeart article: In the pantheon of those responsible for what made American soccer what it is, Sigi is a titan that belongs in the inner circle.
Sigi Schmid Career Accomplishments:
- All-time winningest MLS head coach (240 regular season wins)
- MLS Cups: 2002, 2008
- Supporters’ Shields: 2002, 2008, 2014
- U.S. Open Cup titles: 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
- Concacaf Champions Cup: 2000
- NCAA national championships: 1985, 1990, 1997
- MLS Coach of the Year: 1999, 2008
- NCAA Coach of the Year: 1997
- UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame: 1996
- National Soccer Hall of Fame: 2015
Sigi Schmid’s family released this statement:
“On Tuesday, December 25, Sigi Schmid passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles due to a personal health matter. Our family is deeply saddened by his passing and is taking this time to grieve the loss of a tremendous husband, father, leader and mentor. We also recognize how much Sigi meant to so many people across the U.S. Soccer landscape and around the world at different levels of the game. That community meant a great deal to him as well, and for that reason, it was important to us that we share the news of his passing.
“While we mourn his loss, we appreciate privacy during this challenging time and will not be issuing further statements. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks to please consider a memorial gift to support the men’s soccer program at UCLA, Sigi’s alma mater. Donations in memory of Sigi may be directed to the attention of Emily Lerner of UCLA Athletics at 310-206-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Schmid is survived by his wife, Valerie and three sons, Kurt, Kyle and Eric; one daughter, Lacey Nicholl and several grandchildren.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber released this statement:
“Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. From Los Angeles to Columbus and Seattle, Sigi won more games than any coach in MLS history and led his clubs to multiple championships, including two MLS Cups and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups. Sigi’s passion for soccer was unrivaled, and he was loved and admired by everyone in MLS. We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Valerie, their children, and all of his loved ones.”