In the end, the decision took a few days, not weeks:
Sigi Schmid will return as coach of Sounders FC next year.
Schmid’s status had seemingly been in jeopardy following a disappointing end to the season, which featured one win in the team’s last 10 games, plus playoff elimination at the hands of archrival Portland.
General manager Adrian Hanauer had said on a conference call Monday that ownership would sit down with Schmid this week to discuss his future, adding that the final call might not come for a few weeks.
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It came Thursday, starting with a statement of support from majority owner Joe Roth.
“After a thorough evaluation, there is no question that Sigi Schmid is the right man to lead our club,” Roth said in the statement. “While we are not happy with the way we finished, Sigi’s resume and accomplishments speak for themselves.”
Schmid, Seattle’s only coach since joining the league five years ago, was already under contract for 2014 and has an option year for 2015 triggered by performance. His staff is expected to return in full.
Roth, Hanauer and Schmid had a two-hour meeting Tuesday that Roth said wasn’t emotional, just a chance to voice opinions and concerns to make sure the failures of the past season wouldn’t persist.
“Look, I think Sigi’s a great coach,” Roth said. “We went out of our way to try and bring him to Seattle. In the five years we’ve been here with an expansion team, he’s made the playoffs all five years. We just haven’t had a slide like that. It was so shocking and discouraging, I think we all needed to talk about it.”
So did the public decision-making process weaken Schmid’s status with the team? Roth doesn’t think so, indicating the team never got to the point of seriously considering replacement options.
Schmid was not part of the conference call Thursday with Roth and Hanauer.
“We’re here to support him,” said Roth. “He doesn’t have to defend himself.”
• DP forward Obafemi Martins is quoted in an Italian report as saying he feels “out of the loop” in Seattle and would like to play in Turkey. The report noted that could be as an offseason loan or a more long-term move. Martins didn’t have anything bad to say about the Sounders, more that he wanted to better his chances of making Nigeria’s World Cup team. The Sounders declined to comment on the report.
• Marcus Hahnemann announced on Twitter that he will be back next season. The 41-year-old goalkeeper is out of contract and had said after last week’s season-ending loss that he would consider his options. A Sounders spokesman noted there was no contract announcement as of Thursday.