Special day at Qwest for Sounders FC as Sigi Schmid was announced as head coach. When he started tearing up, I think we were all taken by surprise. But it’s good to see some emotion from the head man…makes him more human to all of us.
Did a lot of talking with several people and here’s some stuff I learned and heard:
1. Training camp will open in this area, then the team heads off to Ventura, Calif., for more workouts and some exhibition games. I’m thrilled to hear that because I have a lot of relatives there that hopefully I can visit.
2. Brian Schmetzer is going to be strongly considered as an assistant for Schmid. The USL Sounders former head coach has been helping Sounders FC with scouting and player evaluations and seems like a natural fit given his history in the area with soccer. Schmetzer has in the past been considered for other MLS assistant positions but always stuck around, and now it looks like his patience has paid off. “Do I think I could have done the head coaching job? Sure,” Schmetzer said. “But no one can argue, no rational soccer guy can argue that this choice [Schmid] isn’t the best choice for this club. And I’m a Seattle guy. I’m excited about it.”
3. Adrian Hanauer and Chris Henderson didn’t consider the possibility of hiring Schmid as a factor in the decisions they made in the expansion draft, though several players have ties to Schmid. “Adrian and I had put so much work in the last year into watching players, watching videos of players, half of them I played against or coached against so my knowledge of the players is as well as anyone in the league,” Henderson said. “We wanted to take good players who all of them had a chance to come in and start. And I think the job of the chemistry and the jell of the team is for the head coach.”
4. Henderson on Schmid: “As a player, you’ll see if he’s angry you’ll know it. But when he wins or enjoys it, he’ll enjoy it with you. I’ve seen him cry before, but it just shows that he’s happy to be in this situation.”
5. The team has sold 67 suites at Qwest Field for the upcoming season.
6. Schmid is a big fan of old-time UCLA basketball, as in the John Wooden days. After practice at UCLA, where he player, he used to watch Wooden take the Bruins through practices at Pauley Pavilion on campus. “I also had the benefit of watching Pat Riley work all the time with the great Laker teams, because they used to work out at UCLA,” Schmid said. “So watching him work with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy and that whole group, and just seeing man-management issues. How they manage individuals, because every sport is the same, you’re managing people.”
7. Schmid, from Torrance, Calif., coached UW football coach Steve Sarkisian’s cousin David at Bishop Montgomery High School down there.
8. Schmid called himself a “nag,” when discussing his coaching style. “I’m the kind of guy who at training is always in your ear a little bit. I believe when players step on the training field, they want to train… they want to play, they want to be active. So I let them play, I let them be active and a lot of times, I’m making little comments.”
9. Schmid said his original visit to Seattle was “tremendous,” and that everything he saw here with the team was “first class.” As for his situation in Columbus, he said “It got to a point where the negotiations had dragged on so long that I said ‘Look, at this point, I’m going to wait until my contract expires and I want to look at what else is out there. And so when I was given permission to talk to outside teams, then I was in contact at that point with Seattle….the rest is what happened today.”
10. Schmid was asked if he had any Latino players in mind. “There’s definitely ideas on some players that we have in mind,” he said. “For me, players like that, I brought Carlos Ruiz to the league, I brought Guillermo Schelotto to the league, Alejandro Moreno probably had his best years for me in L.A. and now in Columbus, I’m always looking for talented players…there’s a couple of guys that we actually have in our mind right now.”
11. Quotable from Schmid:
-“There’s a gentleman in this room who was a part of the original Sounders by the name of Jimmy Gabriel. And he said something to me a long time ago that has always stuck with me. And he said, ‘Soccer can’t be fun, fun, and it can’t be serious, serious. It’s got to be serious fun.’ So, I’m telling you right now, in these years ahead we’re going to have some serious fun.”
-“We’re going to try and come out firing right away…I can promise you goal-scoring situations and I can promise you that we’re going to be in every game…I’m too old to rebuild for too long. [Kasey] Keller’s not going to be out there in four years so we gotta get this done early for him.”