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July 26, 2016
Schmid, Sounders 'part ways' after eight years

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The Seattle Sounders and coach Sigi Schmid have “agreed to mutually part ways,” the team announced Tuesday.

Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, has been the Sounders’ coach since they joined the league in 2009. Schmid was named coach Dec. 16, 2008, guiding the Sounders to four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles, the 2014 MLS Supporters' Shield and seven consecutive playoff appearances.

Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer will be the interim head coach of the Sounders (6-12-2, 20 points), who are in ninth place in the Western Conference.

"Sigi Schmid has been an invaluable member of Sounders FC since the club's MLS launch, leading our organization to numerous trophies and a consistent winning culture for seven seasons," Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer said in a team release. "Sigi departs the club with our utmost respect and gratitude for his years of service. Ultimately the club and Sigi agreed that a change was needed at this time, but Sigi's legacy will always be a part of our history. He has my sincere appreciation for all that he committed to our team and community."

Schmid won the MLS Cup with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002 and the Columbus Crew in 2008 and has won 11 major titles as an MLS coach. Schmid, a two-time MLS Coach of the Year and National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, is the winningest coach in MLS history (228) and became the first in MLS to coach 500 regular-season games. Schmid is second in postseason wins (26) behind LA's Bruce Arena (30). Schmid's regular-season record with Sounders FC is 115-79-56, the team compiling the second-best winning percentage in the league since 2009.

"I want to thank Seattle Sounders FC for the opportunity to lead this club over the past eight years, with particular gratitude to Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and the rest of the club's ownership group," Schmid said in a team release. "I'd also like to thank my coaches and technical staff for the support they've given me, and most importantly I want to thank my players for their tremendous effort throughout the years. I'm proud of the success we've achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven straight seasons. My only disappointment is that we were unable to bring home an MLS Cup to our tremendous fans, who have always been supportive through good times and bad. In closing, I want to thank the Sounders FC organization, the club's fans and the city of Seattle for this amazing run."

Schmid won three NCAA titles (1985, 1990, 1997) with UCLA, his alma mater, and twice served as the coach of the U.S. U-20 national team, most recently in 2005 at the FIFA World Championships.

"It's been a privilege to work with a legend like Sigi and I've learned a lot from him,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said. "He established a foundation that led this franchise to one of the best launches in professional sports history. It will be tough for any coach to match the legacy of success he has established, and it is with a heavy heart that we part ways with such a respected figure. Brian Schmetzer will become our interim coach and we will begin a search to identify who will lead the players for the next several years. Stability and loyalty are hallmarks of this organization and it is incumbent upon us to reset the club and make good long-term decisions about our future in an effort to establish a championship contender."

Schmetzer, 53, has been the team’s top assistant since 2009. Schmetzer, a Seattle native, is among the Puget Sound soccer community's most recognizable figures after playing and coaching for the region's top professional franchises since 1980. Schmetzer helmed the Sounders in the USL from 2002-2008, guiding the club to USL-1 championships in 2005 and 2007, plus two Commissioner's Cups for the league's best regular-season record, and six postseason appearances in seven years. He was named USL-1 Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading the Sounders to a 23-4-1 record and league championship, finishing his time in USL-1 with a 100-57-41 overall regular-season record.

Schmetzer has filled in for Schmid for during MLS regular-season play, accumulating a record of 3-1-0. Schmetzer's coaching career was preceded by a 15-year professional playing career, including stints with the NASL Sounders (1980-1983) and the Sounders' inaugural season in the A-League in 1994.

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