TUKWILA, Wash. – In a career spanning 17 MLS seasons and already filled with plenty of milestones, Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid will reach another impressive landmark this Sunday (7:30 pm ET, FS1) when he coaches his 500th career league match against the New York Red Bulls.
Schmid’s MLS tenure started in 1999, when he took over as coach of the LA Galaxy following a 19-season run at UCLA. Since then, he’s won more games than any other coach in MLS history and, from the sound of it, doesn’t plan on calling it quits any time soon.
“They say when you retire you should do what you enjoy,” Schmid said while discussing the impending milestone with reporters following Seattle’s practice on Thursday. “What I enjoy is coaching. The way I look at it, I'm in retirement, doing what I really enjoy.”
The 500-game landmark is an impressive one to be sure. But it’s also just a piece of the puzzle when discussing Schmid’s overall legacy on MLS and US soccer. Here are some other notable numbers that help contextualize that legacy.
That’s the number of regular season victories Schmid has accumulated over the course of his MLS career going into Sunday, the most wins of any coach in league history. Yes, even more than current Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who is currently second on that list with 190. For his career, Schmid sports an overall regular-season winning percentage of .571.
If there has been any knock on Schmid – especially during his tenure in Seattle -- it’s that his perennially contending Sounders teams have yet to win take the final step of winning an MLS Cup. However, his playoff track record is still nothing to sneeze at. Schmid sports a .610 playoff win percentage, second only to Arena’s ballistic mark of .707. Overall, his career postseason record is 26-15-9.
Schmid’s longevity has resulted in his share of individual accolades, including a pair of MLS Coach of the Year awards in 1999 with the Galaxy and 2008 with the Columbus Crew. If championships are your barometer, he has a pair of those as well – one in 2002 with LA and the other in 2008 with Columbus.
Before taking the Galaxy job in 1999, Schmid put together a 19-year run with UCLA that can’t be described as anything other than dominant. How dominant? His record as Bruins coach was a scorching 322-63-33 and also included a run of 16 straight playoff appearances and three national championships. Combine those 322 wins with his 222 MLS wins, and you’re left with 544.
To state the obvious, that’s a lot of winning.