Schmid has won more than 200 games in Major League Soccer, two MLS Cup titles and four U.S. Open Cups. He won three NCAA Division I championships while at UCLA.
If there was a unifying theme of the 2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, it was “Coming full circle.”
Longtime U.S. men’s national team assistant Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and Olympia native Kasey Keller were all honored Saturday night, the red blazers of former inductees dotting the crowd.
Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer, opened the show. Sounders owner Joe Roth and L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena were in the house, and longtime USMNT stalwart Brian McBride introduced Keller.
Travis Mynerick, Glenn’s son, spoke on behalf of his father, who passed away in 2006. A product of Mercer County, N.J., and the pride of Hartwick College, Mooch’s career survived the folding of the North American Soccer League.
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“If part of his job and purpose was to advance the sport, then job done,” Travis said.
Schmid, describing the underlying force behind his induction, said “players, players, players.”
A 62-year-old native of Tubingen, Germany, Schmid got choked up when he first took the podium, and especially as he tried to thank his late mother, Doris.
“When I think about the influences I had, yeah, it’s pretty emotional,” said Schmid, who has won more than 200 games in Major League Soccer, two MLS Cup titles and four U.S. Open Cups. He won three NCAA Division I championships while at UCLA.
Yet he flashed back, all the way to the beginning, when he wasn’t sure whether to trade accounting for coaching. Prior to the 1980 season, Schmid relayed, four of his best players announced their intention to redshirt. He convinced them to play through the road trip, the Bruins started 3-0 and Schmid’s coaching career was on its way.
When Keller was coming up through the local youth system, there was no top-level professional soccer league in the United States. His father, Bernie, gently nudged his athletic son to find another career path. Kasey had other ideas.
He was “a cocky kid growing up on an egg farm in Olympia,” and no worries, he’d simply ply his trade in Europe. “You talk about the arrogance of a professional athlete,” Keller said, shaking his head.
The two-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year was the first American goalkeeper to become a regular in the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.
Included among the many thank yous of the night was a man named Bruce Rioch, the coach credited with giving Keller his European shot.
Rioch, as it turned out, was a Seattle Sounder back during the NASL days. He coached FC Seattle before making the move to Europe, where he signed a young American to his first European contract.