David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Seattle Soccer Examiner
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
An emotional Schmid takes the helm of Sounders FC
Sigi Schmid was announced as the first-ever head coach of expansion club Seattle Sounders FC at a press conference today at Seattle's Qwest Field.
Early on Schmid was overcome by emotion as he talked about being closer to his younger brother who lives in the area. Less than two minutes in to his address of the media Schmid took a breather and gathered himself as tears flowed. Sigi helped raise his brother Roland after their mother died when Sigi was 23 and his brother was 13. Directly from that emotional moment Schmid pulled together the strands of the two previous Sounders clubs when he mentioned both longtime NASL Sounder Jimmy Gabriel and later during questions also USL Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer. Schmid quoted Gabriel as saying soccer needs to be 'serious fun' to build a successful team. Schmid spoke highly of Schmetzer and hinted that he'll be a likely candidate for an assistant.
Sigi's emotional moments strengthened his human side and he then rose from there to articulate his soccer passion as well as his strategic strengths. “There are many reasons for me wanting to come to Seattle,” said Schmid. “First, I feel very comfortable working with our management team, with Joe, Adrian and Chris. I believe we all want to play an entertaining, successful brand of soccer, and to make this a world-class club. Everything I’ve seen and heard since I interviewed here shows this franchise has backed-up their pledge to the fans to make this a very, very special team. I’m excited to be part of that. I couldn’t ask for a better situation, a better challenge for me at this point in my life. This job was attractive to me because this franchise is doing everything at a level of the highest quality.”
Sounders FC General Manager Adrian Hanauer introduced Schmid at the start of the press conference. “Clearly, Sigi is a winner, and there are many reasons why success follows him,” said Hanauer. “He has a keen eye for talent and a knack for fitting those talents together to make an even stronger group. Players want to play for him. He creates an intense and competitive training environment. He’s demanding and inspiring. He communicates well with his players, he enables them to develop and gets the most out of his squad. He maximizes his players’ abilities. We have passionate supporters and players, and now we have a passionate coach.”
Here is Schmid's emotional opening statement as the first-ever head coach of Sounders FC:
“Thanks very much. I’m excited. When I look at this turnout, and I see all these cameras and all these people here, I know without a doubt I’ve made the right decision to come here. The gentleman up here with me, Tod (Leiweke) and Adrian (Hanauer) and Chris (Henderson) obviously played a very important role in attracting my attention here. To go with Adrian’s comment about wearing ties, I’m not one who wears ties very often either, and if you see me in a tie very often that means I’m not doing my job on the field. So hopefully you won’t see me in one often.
And knowing Chris for 20 years, you can all agree, he’s aged a lot better than I have. He looks much younger still than I do. To be the first coach of this franchise, in my visit up here to see what this club is doing behind the scenes: the organization, the structure, the commitment to the community and the commitment to the sport of soccer is beyond what’s happening anywhere in this entire country. That’s something that I was very excited to be associated with. It helps me certainly to be close to my brother. We’ve been apart for a long time. (Pause)
As you can tell, I’m an emotional guy. For me, I’ve had some great experiences in this sport and I’d never trade any of the past experiences for what I’m about to encounter. It means a lot to me. It means a lot to me. And to hear the words that these gentlemen have said, it means a lot to me to be here now in this city. My whole goal is to win games. But you can’t win games without great players. I’ve never been a coach that believes that I’m the solution, or I’m the answer. All that I am is a conduit to try and create an environment that allows the athletes that I’ve been blessed with to coach to perform, and to perform at the best of their abilities on the field.
If I can get the most out of each individual that plays for me, winning will take care of itself, and that’s the philosophy that I’ve always had. There’s a gentleman in this room who was a part of the original Sounders by the name of Jimmy Gabriel. And he said something to me a long time ago that has always stuck with me. And he said, ‘soccer can’t be fun, fun, and it can’t be serious, serious. It’s got to be serious fun.’ So, I’m telling you right now, in these years ahead we’re going to have some serious fun. And I’m very happy to be here in Seattle.”
We'll be updating this entry with links and more quotes as they come online.
Photos courtesy of SoundersFC.com
Video: King 5 News
Seattle Times: Sounders introduce new coach, Sigi Schmid
Seattle P-I: Sounders introduce Schmid as coach
SoundersFC.com: Sigi Schmid named first coach of Sounders FC
ProstAmerika.com: Mr. Schmid (finally) comes to Washington
Seattle Times: More from the announcement