The Seattle Sounders brass took a long look at Brian Schmetzer’s work as the team’s interim coach and they liked what they saw. So much so, in fact, that they have made the move to make the Seattle native the team’s second full-time head coach in their MLS history.
Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer made the announcement on Wednesday evening at the Sounders’ Alliance Annual Business Meeting between ownership and fans.
"His connection to this city and club goes back decades, long before I hired him to manage the USL Sounders in 2002," said Hanauer in a statement. "He has always been an incredible steward of the organization and ambassador for our club in the community, and what he and the team have accomplished on the field over the past three months is worthy of recognition. With that sentiment in mind, we look forward to seeing him continue his great work this season and beyond."
Schmetzer, 54, has been involved on the Seattle soccer scene since he joined the NASL incarnation of the Sounders as a player in 1980. He managed the USL version of the Sounders from 2002-2008 before making the jump with the team to MLS ahead of the 2009 season, when he stayed on as an assistant to head coach Sigi Schmid.
Schmid guided the Sounders through seven full years in MLS, winning four US Open Cup titles and the 2014 Supporters’ Shield. After a run of poor results to start the 2016 campaign, however, the Sounders and Schmid decided to mutually part ways on July 26 and the club made Schmetzer the interim coach for the remainder of the year.
Since taking over as interim coach, Schmetzer has led the Sounders to a 8-2-4 record, taking them from ninth place in the Western Conference to a No. 4 seed in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. He now has two playoff wins under his belt after guiding his charges to a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in the Knockout Round and a 3-0 home win over FC Dallas in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Schmetzer and the Sounders will look to close out the Supporters’ Shield winners and book their third trip to the Western Conference Championship in team history when they travel to Texas for Sunday’s second leg (9 pm ET; FS1, FOX Deportes in USA; TSN2 in Canada).