Sigi Schmid's most memorable draft stories

Sigi Schmid - March 2015

When you've been at the MLS draft as many times as I have over the years – from the college draft to the supplemental and now the SuperDraft – there are some stories that stay with you forever. 

In the case of some of those stories, the statute of limitations is up, allowing me to share them here: 

Milking the Clock

The night before the Allocation Draft of 2002 – a draft held to decide the destination of players from the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny after those two clubs ceased operations – it was pretty clear to everyone what was happening at No. 1. Colorado had that first selection and all the league's coaching staffs went to bed feeling confident that Pablo Mastroeni would be the top pick. The suspense lay in who New England would take with the No. 2 pick.

The next morning at the W Hotel in New York, it took Colorado all of two seconds to announce they were in fact taking Mastroeni. At that point we're thinking the draft was about to fly by. Surely the Revolution knew what was coming and had their No. 2 pick all lined up, right?

Well, it turns out the Revolution – then led by head coach Fernando Clavijo and club chief Sunil Gulati – needed a timeout, leading to a sigh from the entire room. It was going to be a long day. 

New England would take "Big Mama," forward Mamadou Diallo (below left), who went on to score just one goal in seven matches for the Revs before being traded to the MetroStars four months later. 

Sigi Schmid's most memorable draft stories -

Wheeling and Dealing

At that same Allocation Draft, I had the 8th overall pick for the LA Galaxy, and the San Jose Earthquakes were right behind us at No. 9.

Quakes head coach Frank Yallop approached me to swap picks. Now, I love Frank and he is a really good guy and we have always been honest with each other. But we had decided we wanted Tyrone Marshall and I didn't want to risk losing him. So I told Frank that I would consider it, but only if he would tell me who he was about to pick.

Frank thought about it a bit, but then agreed. And so we talked trade terms and then he came clean: He told he me he was taking Devin Barclay, and so I agreed to the trade since I knew we'd still get Marshall.

After both of us had made our picks, Frank came back to me later in the draft and asked, "I didn't have to make that trade, did I?" I got my player (Marshall, below, who went on to play five seasons in LA) and a 2nd-round pick in the 2002 SuperDraft (who would turn out to be Gavin Glinton).

Sigi Schmid's most memorable draft stories -

In the Nick of Time

One final story. In 2002 the city of Orlando hosted the SuperDraft. Although the league provided transportation, most of the coaching staffs at the Player Combine in nearby Ft. Lauderdale decided to drive up on their own so they can use the trip to discuss strategy in the five-hour car ride north.

So there we sat in a Lake Buena Vista ballroom on draft day – most coaching staffs wondering out loud why we couldn't just hold this draft in Ft. Lauderdale – except for the MetroStars (today known as the New York Red Bulls), whose table was empty one hour before the start.

While most coaching staffs drove up on the off day, MetroStars head coach Octavio Zambrano and GM Nick Sakiewicz had decided to drive up the morning of the draft, which was due to start at 11 am local time.

With 15 minutes to go, Octavio and Nick were still nowhere to be found. Discussions began as to what would happen to their pick – the No. 3 overall selection – if they were no-shows. It was unprecedented.

Finally with five minutes to go, the door busts open and in come Nick and Octavio, a little disheveled after a run from the parking lot. Just in time to take Brad Davis, who went on to have a 15-year MLS career, though only his first came with the MetroStars.