The Patriarchs of MLS Coaching

There's Bruce. There's Sigi. In the interactive experience below, see how they have shaped the culture of coaching in Major League Soccer.

Whether they’re grooming assistants for head coaching roles or mentoring players who make the jump to management, Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid have fingerprints throughout the MLS coaching ranks. In a clash of the two winningest coaches in the league’s 21-year history, Arena’s LA Galaxy and Schmid’s Seattle Sounders FC prepare to lock horns once more Saturday, July 9, at CenturyLink Field (3 pm ET on ESPN).

“Whenever Seattle and LA play, the storyline is certainly the stars on the field,” Galaxy assistant coach Dave Sarachan told . “But it’s also Bruce and Sigi.”

This interactive coaching tree centers on the 20 current MLS managers and their connections to technical staff at other clubs. It delivers a visual representation of the sizable impact that Arena and Schmid have had on the League. Select a team logo to reveal each head coach’s former assistants and players who are now among the management ranks.

Bruce Arena

Arena’s resume has no peers in American soccer: five NCAA championships at the University of Virginia, five MLS Cup titles and three Supporters’ Shields with D.C. United and the LA Galaxy, and advancement to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals as US national team coach. But to boil down his imprint to that loaded trophy case would be an incomplete picture.

Bob Bradley, his D.C. United assistant, went on to become a prolific MLS coach before leading the US and Egyptian national teams and embarking on a career in Europe. Ben Olsen, who played under Arena with Virginia, D.C. United and the national team, earned MLS Coach of the Year honors with United in 2014. Current MLS head coaches Gregg Berhalter, Jesse Marsch, Pablo Mastroeni and Greg Vanney also played for Arena, as did numerous assistants and executives across the league.

Each of those head coaches brings a unique style, and Arena himself varies his tactical approach to meet each match’s unique challenge. Although the 64-year-old is most often associated with a reliable 4-4-2, he is quick to debunk the myths of formations and point to the fluidity of players and circumstances.

Siegfried "Sigi" Schmid

Born in Tübingen, Germany and raised in California, Schmid brings an understated coaching style rooted in trusting his players’ intuition. Twice an MLS Cup champion — with the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew SC — Schmid trails Arena in that department. But the 63-year-old does own the distinction of being the league’s all-time leader in regular season victories, winning the Supporters’ Shield three times, and Seattle has claimed four US Open Cup titles with Schmid at the helm.

His resume includes three NCAA championships from his time at UCLA, where he coached a slew of future US national team regulars. Much of Schmid’s impact on MLS technical staff stems from the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, where he led a US Under-20 squad that included current club executives Chris Albright, Carlos Bocanegra and John Thorrington.

As coach of the Galaxy from 1999 to 2004, Schmid influenced the likes of Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney, former Chivas USA boss (and current TFC assistant) Robin Fraser, and Real Salt Lake general manager Craig Waibel. Few in American soccer can rival Schmid’s reputation for evaluating talent, so it’s not surprising Schmid has groomed — and continues to mold — so many figures with keen minds for the game.