Sigi Schmid, fired by the Seattle Sounders midway through the 2016 MLS season, is back in pro soccer, replacing Curt Onalfo as the head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, the club confirmed Thursday. Schmid, who coached the Galaxy from 1999-2004, returns in time for the club’s match against the Sounders Saturday in Carson, CA. (7 p.m., ESPN).
Los Angeles (6-10-4, 22 points) has taken a nosedive from the success of recent seasons after the departure of coach Bruce Arena to coach the U.S. Men’s National Team. Onalfo was promoted from the job of coaching the club’s reserve team. The Galaxy’s defense struggled under Onalfo, conceding 37 goals in 20 games, compared to the 39 they conceded during all of 2016.
Schmid, who was fired in 2016 after the Sounders started 6-12-2, stepped in to the analyst’s booth on ESPN in time to watch the Sounders rebound to win the MLS Cup under former assistant Brian Schmetzer, helped by the arrival of Seattle’s newest designated player, Nicolas Lodeiro.
“In the city of Los Angeles and throughout North America, the LA Galaxy are the iconic standard of success and innovation within soccer,” Schmid said in a club statement. “I am very proud to return to the Galaxy and I know the expectations here are to win championships each year, beginning with a sixth MLS Cup . . . I will work tirelessly to again win trophies for the club, its players, our fans and the city of Los Angeles.”
Schmid, 64, has a history of winning trophies. He has two MLS Cups, a record five U.S. Open Cups, three Supporters’ Shields, one CONCACAF Champions’ Cup (which preceded the modern CONCACAF Champions League) and three College Cups while he served as the head coach at UCLA from 1980-1999.
With 254 wins across the regular season and playoffs, Schmid is the winningest coach in MLS history. Schmid coached the Galaxy from 1999 to 2004, winning the 2002 MLS Cup while compiling a record of 79-53-32 with a 16-7-3 mark in the playoffs. He also won the 2008 MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew.
Schmid may be bolstered by reinforcements, as was Schmetzer last season. Sources have reported that the Galaxy are close to signing Jonathan dos Santos, whose brother, Giovani, plays for the Galaxy, from La Liga’s Villareal.