Remembering an American Soccer Legend: Sigi Schmid’s Top Career Moments

Just over a week after the death of Sigi Schmid, we reminisce on the legendary coach’s best moments, from winning multiple NCAA national championships to accruing the most wins in MLS history. 

Last week, the American soccer community lost an icon. Sigi Schmid was a consummate winner, no matter what level he coached at. Owning the most wins in MLS history both in the regular and post seasons, Schmid also coached the UCLA Bruins to three NCAA national championships.

His reign of success with both UCLA and the LA Galaxy made him a Southern California legend, but his influence was felt throughout the nation. He also spent time coaching with the Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew, and the United States U-20 national team.

Known as one of the “Godfathers of U.S. Soccer,” Schmid’s impact on the game is immeasurable, and we take a look back at some of his top moments.

Dominance at UCLA

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Schmid, who played on UCLA’s soccer team from 1972 to 1975, took over as the Bruins’ head coach in 1980 after several years as an assistant. Five years later, he won his first NCAA championship, outlasting American University 1-0 in a staggering eight overtimes. While UCLA wouldn’t win another title in the ’80s, the Bruins won or tied an incredible 85 percent of their matches in the decade.

UCLA’s second title in 1990 officially established it as a college soccer powerhouse. In a match almost as intense as their first title, the Bruins outlasted Rutgers 4-3 on penalty kicks following a scoreless regulation, two periods of overtime, and two periods of sudden death. The following season the team continued to excel, in part due to Schmid’s decision to move Cobi Jones from midfield to forward, which paid dividends for club and country in Jones’ professional career.

CONCACAF Champions League Title

sigi schmid

After winning a third title with UCLA in 1997, Schmid left for the LA Galaxy in 1999. In just his second season at the helm, Schmid won the CONCACAF Champions League, with LA beating Honduran champion Olimpia 3-2 in the final. The 2000 Galaxy squad remains the only MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League, which is comprised of the best clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

First MLS Cup Victory

In 2002, Schmid finally brought home the club’s first MLS Cup in a 1-0 victory in extra time over the New England Revolution. The title marked a turning point in Galaxy club history, as they had failed to win in their previous three trips to the final. Today, the Galaxy have the most MLS Cups in the league with five.

2008 Columbus Crew Season

sigi schmid

Schmid left the Galaxy following the 2003 season, and didn’t return to coaching in MLS until 2006, when he agreed to manage the Columbus Crew. While his first two seasons in charge weren’t spectacular, the 2008 campaign was perhaps his finest masterpiecewith Schmid becoming the second MLS coach to win 100 games on his way to hoisting the MLS Cup after a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls. Schmid also received the MLS Coach of the Year award.

After the magical year with the Crew, Schmid went on to spend seven years with the Seattle Sounders before heading back to LA to coach the Galaxy for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. We are going to miss his presence, but his impact on American soccer will continue to live on forever.

What was your favorite moment from Sigi Schmid’s coaching career? Sound off in the comments below. 

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