While Sounders FC assistant coach Brian Schmetzer didn't get the job last year in Montreal, it might be just a matter of time before he joins the ranks as an MLS head coach.

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TUKWILA — Sounders FC assistant coach Brian Schmetzer could have been on the other bench this weekend in Montreal.

When the expansion Impact was hunting for a head coach last year, Schmetzer was brought in for an interview. Montreal ended up hiring Jesse Marsch.

Any hard feelings heading into Seattle’s 4:30 p.m. road game Saturday at Saputo Stadium? Nah.

“It adds no significance,” Schmetzer said. “I like (Montreal sporting director) Nick De Santis; he’s a buddy of mine.”

And the longtime Sounder still hopes his chance to join the MLS head-coaching ranks will come.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” said Schmetzer, 49. “I’ve learned a lot being a head coach at the (United Soccer Leagues) level and then obviously sitting here with (coach Sigi Schmid) and listening and paying attention and taking notes.”

Self-belief that he could do the job only goes so far, however.

“Somebody else has to think that — not me,” Schmetzer said.

The Sounders also believe he’s ready.

Schmid said during an interview in November that Schmetzer was capable of being an MLS head coach and praised his top assistant for his loyalty and willingness to express his opinion.

Adrian Hanauer, Sounders FC general manager and part owner, said the team knows it could lose Schmetzer to a league competitor.

“If coaches, staff, players get big opportunities around the country, around the world, it speaks well for our club,” Hanauer said. “We’re going to do our best to hang on to the best people in our organization, but I’ve always said that as managers we’re doing things right if that leads to opportunities for the people within the organization.

“Brian was a fantastic head coach for the USL team and he’s also a tremendous assistant coach in MLS. I think he’ll be a tremendous head coach in MLS someday, as well.”

It would be weird, though, to see Schmetzer in a different city. The Seattle product joined the Sounders of the North American Soccer League in 1980 after graduating from Nathan Hale High School of Lake City. He also played briefly for F.C. Seattle in 1985 and the A-League Sounders in 1994.

Schmetzer then coached the A-League/USL Sounders from 2002-08 and guided them to league championships in 2005 and 2007. He interviewed for the Sounders FC head-coaching job, which went to Schmid, but was hired as the team’s top assistant.

“I love this city and I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect career path,” he said in the news release of his hiring on Dec. 22, 2008.

The next step on that path is clear, even if, as Hanauer said, Schmetzer is “Seattle Sounders through and through.”

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @joshuamayers