MLS coaching legend Sigi Schmid passes away

Anne-Marie Sorvin
The former LA, Seattle and Columbus boss passed away on Wednesday after battling heart issues for the last several weeks

MLS coaching legend Sigi Schmid passed away on Christmas day at the age of 65.

The German-born manager was admitted to the hospital earlier in the month and was reportedly in intensive care. 

His family released a statement on Wednesday that the former LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew manager had passed away. 

It reads: “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."

Schmid managed the Galaxy during the recently completed 2018 MLS season, before he resigned in September.   

During his legendary managerial career Schmid won two MLS Cup titles, in 2002 with the LA Galaxy and again in 2008 with the Columbus Crew and was twice named as MLS Coach of the Year. 

Schmid also claimed five U.S. Open Cup titles, including four in his time with the Sounders. 

“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."

All together Schmid rolled up 240 regular season wins and 26 playoff victories over the course of his MLS coaching career, which followed on from winning three NCAA titles with the UCLA Bruins over two decades with the college program. 

“He was an amazing family person and his love for soccer was endless,” former USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann told the Los Angeles Times on 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: straightforward, giver, passionate, endlessly dedicated to his mission and to his family.”

Outside of his head coaching duties Schmid was an assistant for the 1994 U.S. World Cup team. 

He is a member of both the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and the UCLA Hall of Fame. 

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