Following the news that Sigi Schmid has died, announced on Wednesday, tributes on social media began pouring in for the legendary MLS head coach.
Bruce Arena, one of the two coaching titans who built and transformed MLS alongside Schmid, gave a statement to the Los Angeles Times following Schmid's death.
“Sigi was passionate for the game, a tireless worker, and was loved by his players,” Arena said. “His accomplishments at every level were truly remarkable and he will be missed.”
Former US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, a fellow Southern California resident, shared a statement as well with the Los Angeles Times.
“He was an amazing family person and his love for soccer was endless,” Klinsmann said Wednesday. “He was like an encyclopedia. He formed soccer in this country like no one else over the last 30 years, at UCLA, in the college world, or by building the success and foundation of the Galaxy, the Columbus Crew and the Seattle Sounders. His brain was always going 200 mph.
“He was such a giver. Sigi leaves us far too early. People like him are very rare in this world: straight forward, giver, passionate, endlessly dedicated to his mission and to his family.”
Seattle Sounders co-owner Drew Carey was stunned by the news of the club's former coach's passing.
Sigi was the greatest. Knowing him was a privilege. He meant so much to the #SoundersFC and the soccer community. Man all these words sound so empty right now. I’m really at a loss. Horrible horrible news https://t.co/zYhLvhc6xe— Drew Carey (@DrewFromTV) December 27, 2018
Brian Schmetzer, an assistant coach under Schmid in Seattle who took over as head coach following his departure in 2016, released a statement through the Sounders: "We are all deeply saddened to lose one of the most well-respected men in our soccer community, and extend our deepest condolences to his family. He was a man of great character and integrity. He helped launch our franchise with winning traditions, and I learned a lot from Sigi in our seven years of coaching together. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know the same can be said for our Sounders family and the greater Seattle soccer community."
Jason Kreis frequently lined up across from Schmid as a player or coach, but paid tribute to a colleague who was willing to help others.
Sigi Schmid was an amazing coach, a terrific man, a mentor, a great example, and someone who would always lend an ear in a time of need. This is devastating news. You will be missed Herr Schmid!— Jason Kreis (@JasonKreis) December 26, 2018
Alejandro Moreno played for and won an MLS Cup with Schmid in Columbus.
I can't find the words to express my gratitude to Sigi Schmid. He truly & fully believed in me as a player and as a person. It was hard to gain his trust, but if you did, you had it forever! I'd like to think I did just that...I'll miss my MLS father, I'll miss you Sig! #RIPSigi— Alejandro Moreno (@AleMorenoESPN) December 27, 2018
Eric Wynalda, who played for the US national team at the 1994 World Cup, with Schmid as an assistant, said the winningest MLS coach was responsible for his career as a pro player.
I have no words - simply devastated. I have no career without this man. My heart goes out to his family - RIP - https://t.co/F2udd8sTpq— Eric Wynalda (@EricWynalda) December 26, 2018
Another prominent member of that 1994 USMNT squad, Tony Meola, shared his recollection of Schmid.
Terribly saddened to hear the news of Sigi Schmid passing. I met Sigi in ‘87 as an opposing coach. He later became my coach, then my colleague and then a mentor and most importantly my friend. Always had time and knowledge to share. Thank you Sigi for your friendship. -RIP— Tony Meola (@TMeola1) December 27, 2018
Jimmy Conrad was one of many UCLA products who played for Schmid at NCAA level and went on to a successful pro career.
I remember going to watch UCLA games when I was a kid and dreaming of playing for them and for Sigi Schmid.— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad) December 27, 2018
So when it actually happened and Sigi trusted me to do right by him on the field, it meant everything to me because I looked up to him so much.
Another UCLA product, Kevin Hartman, who also played for Schmid at the LA Galaxy, wrote a lengthy statement on his Twitter account about his former coach.
It wasn't just players who have since retired who paid their respects, as Sounders forward Jordan Morris, who played for Schmid during his final season in Seattle, tweeted about his first pro coach.
Very saddened by this news. My prayers go out to the whole Schmid family. Sigi gave me my start as a professional and was so influential in my career and the careers of so many others. But more importantly he was a great person. RIP Coach, thank you for everything https://t.co/vgIHxoSq8L— Jordan Morris (@JmoSmooth13) December 27, 2018
Members of the media, like TV reporters Katie Witham and Julie Stewart-Binks, weighed in as well.
Devastated hearing the news about Sigi Schmid. One of the kindest, caring, most influential head coaches in the game who always had time to help others, including me. I will forever be grateful for all time he spent talking soccer w/ me. Thoughts/love/prayers to Val +his family❤️— Katie Witham (@Katie_Witham) December 27, 2018
Shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Sigi Schmid. Such an institution and inspiration for soccer in the US. He always took the time to do an interview and speak to media even in dire circumstances. He will be missed greatly.— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) December 26, 2018
Journalist John Rojas shared a quiet moment at a Galaxy training session.
RIP Sigi Schmid. You saw something in me and gave me a chance, I'm thankful to have known you. More importantly you gave so much to soccer in America. You will be missed.— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) December 27, 2018
ESPN analyst and retired striker Herculez Gomez also added his voice to the chorus...
Keep the Schmid Family in your thoughts and prayers.— herculez gomez (@herculezg) December 27, 2018
Forever grateful for the opportunities Sigi gave my family and I... @ussoccer owes you a debt of gratitude.
You will be missed, but not forgotten.
RIP my friend.
... as did the sport's leading executives, including MLS Commissioner Don Garber and U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro:
Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid. Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. https://t.co/xki3MDQ5Ka— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) December 27, 2018
We are all deeply saddened by Sigi’s passing, but eternally thankful for his dedication and passion that have left a lasting legacy on America Soccer. Our condolences to his family, friends and all those who were impacted by a wonderful coach and man. https://t.co/JoFIRRChZQ— Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccer) December 27, 2018
While ex-pro turned COPA90 presenter Heath Pearce hailed Schmid as a "pioneer" of the North American game:
Rest in Peace Sigi.— Heath Pearce (@heathpearce) December 27, 2018
Your impact on the game will be remembered forever.
Everything that’s happening in the landscape of US soccer now for the better are things he requested and pushed for over last 15 years, even when no one would listen.
That is a pioneer.