Former Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid died Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 65.
Schmid's family said he died from a personal health matter. He was hospitalized three weeks ago in need of a heart transplant.
“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,” The family said in a statement Wednesday.
Schmid had an MLS-record 266 regular-season and postseason victories in 18 seasons with the LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Sounders. He led teams to two MLS titles, the first with the Galaxy in 2002 and the second with the Crew in 2008, and was a two-time MLS Coach of the Year. He stepped down as coach of the Galaxy in September with six games left in the regular season.
Schmid joined the Sounders in 2008 and was 115-79-56 with the team before parting ways in July of 2016. He led the Sounders to playoff appearances in each of their first six seasons and four U.S. Open Cup titles. Schmid was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.
"Today's news comes as a shock and a devastating blow to our entire community across MLS and U.S. Soccer," Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer said in a statement. "Sigi was someone I respected immensely, not only for his success as a coach and dedication to his craft, but more importantly as a man and someone that truly left a positive mark on the people he encountered every day. He will be missed greatly by a lot of people, and on behalf of the soccer community here in Seattle, I can say that we would not be where we are now without him."
"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."
In place of flowers, the Schmid family is asking the public to consider a memorial gift to the men’s soccer program at UCLA, Sigi’s alma mater.
Schmid coached UCLA for 19 seasons before moving on to MLS, leading the Bruins to three NCAA titles.
Donations in memory of Sigi may be directed to the attention of Emily Lerner of UCLA Athletics at 310-206-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.