Sounders owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer used the beginning of Thursday’s year-end press conference at CenturyLink Field to stump for Sigi Schmid’s MLS Coach of the Year candidacy — never mind the fact that the votes had already been tallied on Tuesday and that Schmid finished in second to Ben Olsen of D.C. United.
The Western Conference was far tougher than the East, Hanauer said, and the league’s parity makes quick turnarounds easier than they look.
“It’s very hard to take a good team and make it a special team,” Hanauer said. “That takes a really special coaching year.”
On Thursday afternoon, Schmid got his reward for a season that brought both the U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield to Seattle: A multi-year contact extension that will keep the veteran coach at the club “for the foreseeable future,” Hanauer said.
Schmid, 61, has led Seattle to four U.S. Open Cup titles and that lone Supporters’ Shield as regular-season champions in the club’s six seasons in Major League Soccer. He’s also guided them to six straight postseason appearances, though the Sounders have yet to qualify for an MLS Cup final.
Schmid became the first MLS coach to 200 league wins with the Sounders’ 2-0 victory over Houston at CenturyLink Field. And to hear him tell it — and share a parable about a long-ago conversation with one of his father’s friends — he’s not planning on slowing down any time soon.
“I said, ‘Why are you still working? You should be retired,'” Schmid said. “He goes, ‘They tell me when you retire you’re supposed to do what you enjoy. I enjoy working.’
“I enjoy coaching.”