Major League Soccer has renamed its annual Coach of the Year award after longtime Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who died in Los Angeles last month at age 65. Schmid won two MLS Cup titles, with the L.A. Galaxy and Columbus, and guided the Sounders to four U.S. Open Cup wins and a 2014 Supporters' Shield.
Former Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had long left his impact on American soccer and now will continue to do so even after his death last month.
Major League Soccer officials announced Friday the annual Coach of the Year award has been renamed in honor of Schmid, who died Dec. 25 in Los Angeles at age 65. Schmid was the first MLS coach of the Sounders, coming over from Columbus after leading the Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup championship. It had been the second league title for Schmid, who coached the L.A. Galaxy to that crown in 2002.
“Sigi was an important part of our league from the very early years in our history, and he had a significant impact on everyone he touched throughout his life and coaching career,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “While he will be remembered by many in the soccer community for his success on the field, it was his kindness and his great qualities as a father, husband and mentor that made him such a special person.”
The German-born Schmid twice won the league’s coaching award, in 1999 and 2008, while his teams also captured five U.S. Open Cups and three Supporters’ Shields for the league’s top regular-season record.
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He won a U.S. Open Cup title during the Sounders’ expansion 2009 season and three more after that with the Rave Green, guiding them to a 2014 Supporters’ Shield as well. The Sounders made the playoffs every season of Schmid’s tenure at the helm, which lasted until his dismissal in July 2016. He joined the Galaxy for a second stint a year later and guided that team until a mutual parting of ways last September.
Schmid ended his career with the all-time MLS lead in coaching victories, with 240 in the regular season and another 26 in the playoffs. He won three NCAA championships at UCLA during a 19-year coaching career there and was named to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.
He had been hospitalized in early December in need of a heart transplant, but died three weeks later while still waiting for one.