The MLS family is mourning the loss of a legend: Sigi Schmid, the all-time winningest head coach in MLS history, passed away on December 25 at the age of 65.
Schmid, who coached the LA Galaxy during the recently concluded 2018 season, was hospitalized and reported to be in intensive care earlier this month.
Schmid's family released the following statement on Wednesday.
“On Tuesday, December 25, Sigi Schmid passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles due to a personal health matter. Our family is deeply saddened by his passing and is taking this time to grieve the loss of a tremendous husband, father, leader and mentor. We also recognize how much Sigi meant to so many people across the U.S. Soccer landscape and around the world at different levels of the game. That community meant a great deal to him as well, and for that reason, it was important to us that we share the news of his passing.
"While we mourn his loss, we appreciate privacy during this challenging time and will not be issuing further statements. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks to please consider a memorial gift to support the men’s soccer program at UCLA, Sigi’s alma mater. Donations in memory of Sigi may be directed to the attention of Emily Lerner of UCLA Athletics at 310-206-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The German-born Schmid was a coaching legend in MLS, making an indelible mark on three separate clubs over nearly 20 years. He won a 2002 MLS Cup title with his hometown LA Galaxy (1999-2004) and repeated the feat in 2008 with Columbus Crew SC (2006-2008) before departing as a champion to take over the expansion Seattle Sounders (2009-2016). He returned to take over the Galaxy in 2017 before stepping aside in September 2018.
All told, Schmid compiled an MLS record 240 regular season wins to go with another 26 victories in postseason play. He was a two-time MLS Coach of the Year winner in 1999 and 2008 and he also collected five US Open titles, including four with the Sounders. He is one of only two MLS coaches to lead their team to a Concacaf regional title, guiding the Galaxy to a 2000 Champions Cup triumph.
“Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. From Los Angeles to Columbus and Seattle, Sigi won more games than any coach in MLS history and led his clubs to multiple championships, including two MLS Cups and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups. Sigi’s passion for soccer was unrivaled, and he was loved and admired by everyone in MLS. We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Valerie, their children, and all of his loved ones."
Before moving to MLS in 1999, Schmid was synonymous with UCLA. A star midfielder for the Bruins from 1972-1975, he coached youth soccer in the Los Angeles region before becoming an assistant at UCLA in 1977. He took over the Bruins' head coaching reins in 1980 and went on to win three NCAA national championships (1985, 1990 and 1997) on the strength of a 322W-63L-33D career record, all while developing numerous pros over two decades in charge.
Schmid also worked with U.S. Soccer, serving as an assistant coach for the US national team at the 1994 World Cup and working two stints as US Under-20 head coach, in 1998-1999 and 2005.
Schmid is a member of both the UCLA Hall of Fame (1996) and the U.S. Soccer National Soccer Hall of Fame (2015).
Outside of soccer, he earned a Bachelor of Economics degree from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California. Schmid is survived by his wife Valerie and four children: Erik, Lacey, Kurt, and Kyle.
Sigi Schmid Career Accomplishments:
- All-time winningest MLS head coach (240 regular season wins)
- MLS Cups: 2002, 2008
- Supporters' Shields: 2002, 2008, 2014
- U.S. Open Cup titles: 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014
- Concacaf Champions Cup: 2000
- NCAA national championships: 1985, 1990, 1997
- MLS Coach of the Year: 1999, 2008
- NCAA Coach of the Year: 1997
- UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame: 1996
- National Soccer Hall of Fame: 2015