After seven years, the Sigi Schmid Era in Seattle is over.
The Sounders announced earlier today that they had agreed to “mutually part ways” with Schmid, who has served as head coach since the team’s inaugural MLS season.
Schmid, whose managerial resume boasts MLS Cup wins with the LA Galaxy and the Columbus Crew, has come under pressure this season after a deeply disappointing league campaign thus far. The Sounders appeared to hit bottom over the past week following a 4-2 loss to the LA Galaxy in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup and a dismal 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City last weekend.
In a statement released by the club, Adrian Hanauer expressed gratitude for Schmid’s years of service while making it clear a change was needed.
”Sigi Schmid has been an invaluable member of Sounders FC since the club’s MLS launch, leading our organization to numerous trophies and a consistent winning culture for seven seasons. Sigi departs the club with our utmost respect and gratitude for his years of service. Ultimately the club and Sigi agreed that a change was needed at this time, but Sigi’s legacy will always be a part of our history. He has my sincere appreciation for all that he committed to our team and community.”
The 63-year-old German-American was gracious on his way out.
“I’m proud of the success we’ve achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven-straight seasons. My only disappointment is that we were unable to bring home an MLS Cup to our tremendous fans, who have always been supportive through good times and bad. In closing, I want to thank the Sounders FC organization, the club’s fans and the city of Seattle for this amazing run.”
The story only broke within the past hour or so, which means speculation on a replacement is still gaining steam. Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer will be taking over on an interim basis, which, conceivably, puts him in the running for the job on a permanent basis. Seattle Times reporter Matt Pentz is reporting that the club may well take its time.
This probably makes sense; MLS teams typically struggle to find midseason managerial replacements, as the league itself has relatively low turnover and the summer schedule makes it difficult to poach candidates from Europe.