Few coaches probably know former MLS star Frankie Hejduk better than Sigi Schmid, who managed the colorful defender at UCLA (1992-94) and with the Columbus Crew (2006-08). With that in mind, I asked Schmid today if he had any thoughts on Hejduk’s recent retirement:
* * *
“I heard he drank some Guinness at his retirement thing,” Schmid said with a laugh.
“Frankie’s a unique character. He’s a free spirit and I love Frankie. I’ve known Frankie a long time, obviously, but the other thing that I think that a lot of people don’t realize is Frankie worked really hard at his craft.
“I think the best Frankie Hejduk story I have was when … he was coming back from his ACL (injury in 2006). He had worked out with us in the morning and was at a stage when he could run and do a lot of things. Then that evening I went to a game at Ohio State and somebody comes to me and said, ‘I saw Frankie here this afternoon.’ I said, ‘Oh yeah? What was he doing?’ He said, ‘Well, he was running a two-mile and then he was running stairs.’
“So everybody thought it was just all natural stuff, that ‘Oh, he’s just naturally fit,’ but he really worked at it. He had gone through a full workout that morning, then he did a two-mile run, then he ran stairs just to get himself back to where he needed to be in terms of fitness. That side of him sometimes gets overlooked because he’s such a free spirit.
“He’s great for the community, he’s going to be great for the Nordecke and the fans, and I’m sure he won’t hesitate to share a beverage or two with them.”