FOOTBALL: Coaching great Sigi Schmid passes at 65

Soccer Hall of Fame coach Sigi Schmid (Photo: L.A. Galaxy)

One of the most important coaches in the development of American soccer has passed away, as Sigi Schmid, 65, died at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA while awaiting a heart transplant operation.

Schmid was best known as a coach in the collegiate ranks – with three NCAA titles at UCLA to his credit, in 1985-90-97 – and in Major League Soccer, but he had an excellent international pedigree as well.

U.S. Soccer noted that “While at UCLA, Schmid served in varying roles with the U.S. Soccer Federation, working as an assistant under Bora Milutinovic at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and head coach at the 1995 Pan American Games. Schmid had two tenures at the helm of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team, leading the side out of the group stage at both the 1999 and 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.

Schmid coached two MLS champion teams: the L.A. Galaxy in 2002 and with the Columbus Crew in 2007. He was the first coach of the Seattle Sounders as an expansion team, from 2009-16.

His coaching skills and enthusiasm for the game helped to propel soccer forward as a sport of national impact in the 1970s and 1980s, and placed him in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.