Santos Laguna forward Herculez Gomez has had a few things to say about Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid the past few weeks. It definitely has added a juicy little subplot to the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
In a story that ran today on MLSsoccer.com, Gomez wasn’t exactly kind to Schmid, his former coach with the Los Angeles Galaxy. For a little context, Gomez played for L.A. in 2002, but didn’t re-sign the following year after a contract dispute (which actually brought him to Seattle to play for the lower-league Sounders).
“He didn’t see soccer in my future,” Gomez told the league website about Schmid, “and if you ever speak to him – I think he’s tactically a brilliant man on the football pitch – but I don’t think socially he’s the best. Not taking anything away from him or having a dig at him, because I think he’s proven to be a great coach, but I wasn’t his cup of tea and he made that known.”
A couple weeks ago in an interview with SI’s Grant Wahl, Gomez offered similar comments.
I asked Schmid about Gomez’ comments today and here was his answer:
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“I don’t quite understand it. I don’t know. You can go into a lot of different things. I was the one who found Herculez playing for a team in San Diego. I was the one who brought him into the Galaxy team. He was part of our championship team in 2002 — I signed him late in the season in September, so he had that opportunity. I still have a picture on my wall where he’s in amongst a group with champagne poured all over him and a video camera in his hand. He seemed happy at that moment.
“Then obviously in those days a developmental contract was a lesser number, but they existed. We had some guys like Alejandro Moreno, who was on a developmental contract. We wanted Herculez to rejoin our team in 2003, but he didn’t think the offer was fair and he had an opportunity to return to San Diego. They made him an out-of-this-world offer; a much better offer than the MLS minimum salary was. So he took that offer, went to San Diego, and they folded in three-four months and he was in limbo-land because we had our roster completed.
“So, I don’t know exactly. It was a long time ago. I think my comment was like, ‘If you go there, you’re going to really put your career on hold,’ or, ‘You’re going to end your career by going there,’ because I wanted him to stay. But he maybe misunderstood it the other way. So it is what it is. I think he’s done well. He did well to represent the United States in the World Cup. He’s gone down to Mexico and been successful. He’s scored some good goals. He had a great season with the Galaxy the one year, as well; it was probably his best year in MLS. He’s accomplished a lot of good things and I wish him nothing but the best — except when they play us.”