By Michael Lewis
Tributes, condolences and remembrances poured in Wednesday night in the wake of the death of former MLS head coach Sigi Schmid.
Here is just a sampling of what has been said Schmid, who coached at UCLA, LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew SC and Seattle Sounders FC.
MLS commissioner Don Garber
“Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid. Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. From Los Angeles to Columbus and Seattle, Sigi won more games than any coach in MLS history and led his clubs to multiple championships, including two MLS Cups and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups. Sigi’s passion for soccer was unrivaled, and he was loved and admired by everyone in MLS. We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Valerie, their children, and all of his loved ones.”
Former LA Galaxy and U.S. national head coach Bruce Arena
“Sigi was passionate for the game, a tireless worker, and was loved by his players. His accomplishments at every level were truly remarkable and he will be missed.”
Sounders FC co-owner Drew Carey
“Sigi was the greatest. Knowing him was a privilege. He meant so much to the #SoundersFC and the soccer community. Man all these words sound so empty right now. I’m really at a loss. Horrible horrible news.”
Former U.S. national head coach Jurgen Klinsmann
“Coach Sigi Schmid: An amazing family man, a fantastic coach, a pioneer of soccer in the United States. We all will miss you very, very much SIGI ! All our prayers and thoughts are with the Schmid family and closed ones.”
Former U.S. international Eric Wynalda
“I have no words – simply devastated. I have no career without this man. My heart goes out to his family – RIP -”
Sounders FC owner Adrian Hanauer
“Today’s news comes as a shock and a devastating blow to our entire community across MLS and U.S. Soccer. Sigi was someone I respected immensely, not only for his success as a coach and dedication to his craft, but more importantly as a man and someone that truly left a positive mark on the people he encountered every day. He will be missed greatly by a lot of people, and on behalf of the soccer community here in Seattle, I can say that we would not be where we are now without him.”
Sounders FC general manager and president of soccer Garth Largerwey
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Sigi’s passing and our thoughts are with his family. He was a man of great class and I admired him both as a competitor and then as a colleague. His accomplishments in our league were vast, and his influence on U.S. soccer will leave a lasting legacy.”
Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer
“We are all deeply saddened to lose one of the most well-respected men in our soccer community, and extend our deepest condolences to his family. He was a man of great character and integrity. He helped launch our franchise with winning traditions, and I learned a lot from Sigi in our seven years of coaching together. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know the same can be said for our Sounders family and the greater Seattle soccer community.”
Sounders FC sporting director and vice president of soccer Chris Henderson
“Sigi was a valued coach, mentor, family man and friend. My relationship with him goes all the way back to when he recruited me to play for him at UCLA. As a coach, he was not only a great soccer mind, but also an incredible motivator and an excellent teacher. It was then an honor to work alongside him in Seattle after my playing days were over, where he was instrumental for much of our success. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, and his memory will endure through the people who loved him.”
Former Red Bulls and U.S. international goalkeeper Tony Meola
“Terribly saddened to hear the news of Sigi Schmid passing. I met Sigi in ‘87 as an opposing coach. He later became my coach, then my colleague and then a mentor and most importantly my friend. Always had time and knowledge to share. Thank you Sigi for your friendship. -RIP”
Dale Irvine, a member of the 1985 NCAA Division I men’s championship team, coached by Schmid
“Today we received the sad news that Sigi has passed away. Anyone who had the honor to play for Sigi will tell you he genuinely cared and loved his players. Sigi pushed us not to meet our abilities but to exceed them both on and off the soccer field. Sigi along with my Dad, are the two most influential Men in my life. His passion for our sport and dedication and work ethic were 2nd to no one. We as players may not have always agreed or understood his decisions at the time, as we look back Sigi was truly ahead of his time, his soccer mind was genius. Sigi’s preparation in training sessions, explaining and teaching us about our upcoming opponents strengths and weaknesses is the reason for our success. Rest In Peace Sigi. Love you.”
Former U.S. international defender Jimmy Conrad
“I remember going to watch UCLA games when I was a kid and dreaming of playing for them and for Sigi Schmid. So when it actually happened and Sigi trusted me to do right by him on the field, it meant everything to me because I looked up to him so much. I’m heartbroken. RIP”
Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris
“Very saddened by this news. My prayers go out to the whole Schmid family. Sigi gave me my start as a professional and was so influential in my career and the careers of so many others. But more importantly he was a great person. RIP Coach, thank you for everything.”
United Soccer Coaches President Lesle Gallimore
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of American coaching icon, Sigi Schmid. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to his wife, Valerie and the entire Schmid family. I grew up in the South Bay and had my first encounter with a young Sigi when I was in the 8th grade and was one of two girls at Golden West Soccer camp at Pepperdine in the summer of 1977. Sigi was one of the coaches and along with other coaching legends in the making, I now know how fortunate I was to have met this man. Sigi, his brother Roland, and his father Fritz pioneered soccer in the area where I grew up and it was never a question as to whether girls & women should play, referee, or coach. The game was for everyone.
“I followed Sigi’s career religiously and to this day profess that he is the best coach to have never skippered our U.S. Men’s National Team. His accomplishments at UCLA were Wooden-esque. He was a tremendous coaching educator and gave me one of my earliest exposures to U.S. Soccer and coach education. His friends and colleagues have become some of my closest friends and colleagues in the game. Sigi, though seemingly stoic, was a giving and kind-hearted man who included everyone who loved the game as much as he did; to me he was truly larger than life.
“When our Seattle Sounders joined the MLS and Sigi was named as our first manager, I’ve never been so excited to follow a team. After his departure from Seattle we kept in touch and after my UW team suffered a tough loss at UCLA two seasons ago, Sigi popped his head into our team tent after the game to give me his take on the game and encouraged me to stay confident in my ability and insight. He didn’t have to do that, but did.
“Sigi Schmid was a long-time and valued member of United Soccer Coaches, and the entire coaching profession owes him a debt of gratitude for his service, his contributions to our sport, and his ability to unite people around the love of the game. He still had so much to give and his coaching legacy lives on through his children and the countless others who learned from him as I did. Auf wiedersehen und ruhe in frieden lieber freund. Good bye and rest in peace dear friend.”