Recently dismissed Sounders coach Sigi Schmid took time Thursday evening to speak to a group of Sounders supporters that gathered at Fuel, a Pioneer Square bar, to say farewell. Speaking to the crowd, Schmid thanked Sounders fans everywhere for their support during his seven and a half seasons at the helm.
“Leaving and having this come to an end, I had always hoped that I could leave on my own terms when I left here, but it was definitely unique, and special,” Schmid said. “I’ll always remember it, and I wish it could have gone on and on.”
Schmid, 63, seemed to imply his departure may have been less mutual than the club stated, though he acknowledged that the time was right for him to step aside.
He mentioned his failure to procure and MLS Cup with the Sounders, citing it as his greatest unfulfilled wish.
“I know we didn’t get the MLS Cup,” Schmid said. “There’s nothing I wanted to do more than be involved in a parade going around this city. We won four Open Cups. We won the Supporters Shield, seven straight playoff appearances. I think only the Galaxy has won more trophies than we have in that period of time.”
The message was one of thanks for the 38,000 supporters that turned up week after week for every game of Schmid’s tenure.
“The main thing that made my time here in Seattle so special was you guys and your support,” Schmid said. “When I was coaching in LA, sometimes, even if you had a good game and you took a late goal, you would get abused as you came off the field.
“You guys were always there. You guys were always supportive, you were always behind us. That’s something that’s unusual and unique and makes you special fans.”
Schmid’s entry to the crowded bar prompted chants of his name and a standing ovation. Schmid applauded in return.
Finally, Schmid turned to chalk talk, discussing some of the problems his team faced during Seattle’s worst start to a season that has left the club ninth in the Western Conference standings midway through the season.
“One of my philosophies as a coach—which I didn’t always say a lot—is that the better you are in training, the better you are in games,” he said. “This year, unfortunately, due to injury, due to players leaving, due to some of the changes we made, the quality of training was not as strong as it had been. We were struggling with that, and we’re trying to get better all the time.
“Hopefully (interim coach) Brian Schmetzer, who has been a great assistant, will be given the opportunity to do it his way, and hopefully his way will allow the team to continue to grow.”
Schmid’s remark about the nine players cut in the off-season turns the attention of the club’s failures toward the front office, on whose behalf GM Garth Lagerway admitted Tuesday that he bore some of the responsibility for the team’s shortcomings
Schmid returned to his connection with fans.
“The most important thing here is to thank you from my side, from my wife, my family, for all the support, all the love, all the care that you exuded every time we stepped on the field,” he said. “Seattle will always have a soft spot in my heart. I’ll always be a Sounders fan.
“This is the best soccer experience that I’ve been able to be a part of as a coach. It will always be special. I wish it could have gone on a little bit longer. Thank you for everything. I’ll never forget it.”