Sounders coach will see a lot of Sammamish
December 22, 2008
By Christopher Huber
Sigi Schmid’s brother, Roland, lives in Inglewood Hill area
If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new coach in town. His name is Sigi Schmid, and he was recently named the first head coach for the new Seattle Sounders FC Major League Soccer expansion team.
Schmid was introduced at a news conference Dec. 16 at Qwest Field after agreeing to a multi-year contract with the Sounders.
Schmid took the job after three years as head coach of the Columbus Crew, where he won the MLS Cup this year. He’s coached for 28 years. He’s not just a big name in professional soccer, though — he’s got a Sammamish connection.
His brother, Roland Schmid, lives in the Inglewood Hill area of Sammamish and was a contributing factor to Sigi Schmid deciding to come to Seattle from Columbus, both Roland and Sigi said.
“It feels great. Even though we’re 10 years apart, we’re brothers, and we have been close,” Sigi Schmid said of reuniting with Roland. “It’s nice to be in the same city, because it’s been a long time since we’ve been in the same city together.”
Although the family factor wasn’t the most imperative — quality of the Sounders organization and, potential to compete were top on his list — Sigi Schmid said it was important to consider it.
“Obviously it was something I was aware of and considering,” he said. “Knowing my family was in the area, for me it would be an easier transition.”
He seems to relish in the prospect of more down time with his brother.
“It’s very important. (Roland) is a much better golfer than me, so he can help my golf game,” Sigi Schmid said.
Roland Schmid, his wife, Amy, and children, Makenzie, 13, and Graham, 10, moved to Sammamish from Georgia in 2006, after he got a job with Boeing.
Roland Schmid said he is looking forward to the non-soccer family time they will spend with Sigi and his wife Valerie.
“Having us here puts the icing on the cake (for him),” Roland Schmid said. “Maybe this gives him a little bit of an out and lets him take a break.”
At the conference, Sigi Schmid got emotional when he spoke of being reunited with his brother.
They have lived apart since 1992, when Roland Schmid left the Los Angeles area. Sigi Schmid was still coaching at UCLA.
“Straight away my wife started to cry,” Roland Schmid said of the speech. “And it was totally unexpected. That was right from his heart.”
Roland Schmid, who played for his brother at UCLA in the early 1980s, said soccer has always been his favorite sport, and he keeps up on the MLS which he would do even without a famous — in some circles — brother.
“I try to watch every soccer game that’s on TV. Regardless if my brother is in the league, I would know what’s going on,” he said. “But, all the better that I’ve got a personal interest.”
Sigi Schmid said he also likes the idea of spending more time with his family amid a busy coaching job.
“All that helps you get a little time away,” Sigi Schmid said. “That’s going to be a big plus, to come for dinner or watch TV or something like that.”
Sigi Schmid cited a number of reasons for taking on the challenge of an expansion team, including that Seattle has been in his top-four list of places he’d like to live, since visiting numerous times for soccer games.
“I think the key factor for me is the organization here is what convinced me,” Sigi Schmid said. “They’re doing things in an extremely efficient and professional manner. It’s something I thought would be exciting because of the magnitude of the way they were trying to do it. Usually, it’s easier to build than to rebuild.”
In his 28 years as a head coach, Sigi Schmid, 55, has won two MLS Cups, the first coming with the L.A. Galaxy in 2002.
He coached the Galaxy from 1999 to 2004 and spent the first 19 years of his career coaching at UCLA. He was assistant coach for three years before taking over as head coach from 1980 to 1999.
1980 was also Roland Schmid’s freshman year at UCLA.
The younger brother played for the older one until 1985.
The Seattle Sounders FC will become the 15th team in Major League Soccer. Comedian Drew Carey is a co-owner of the team, and would only buy in after a guarantee that the team would have a marching band.
As a result, the sounders are on track to become the only pro sports team in America with a band.
The sounders are set to play at Qwest Field starting in April 2009.
For more information, visit www.soundersfc.com.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the same city together.”
– Sigi Schmid,
Sounders coach –
Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. To comment on this story, visit www.SammamishReview.com.