Seattle Sounders cut ties with coach Sigi Schmid in stunning midseason shake-up

Seattle Sounders FC manager Sigi Schmid leaves the club after 20 games in the 34-game regular season. (Photo by Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

The Seattle Sounders and longtime coach Sigi Schmid have mutally agreed to part ways, the club announced on Tuesday.

Schmid was the first and only coach in the Sounders’ history as a Major League Soccer team and under his leadership, the Sounders won four U.S. Open Cups and a Supporter’s Shield. The biggest trophy of all, an MLS Cup, has eluded him though and, so far this season, the Sounders look to be on pace to miss playoffs for the first time.

"I’m proud of the success we’ve achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven-straight seasons," Schmid said in a statement. "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." 

For anyone who saw the Sounders’ appallingly bad performance on Sunday, the move may not seem like a suprise. But taken in the larger context of Schmid’s long history and consistent success with the club, the midseason shake-up is much more surprising.

The Sounders sit one place away from the bottom of the Western Conference with a 6-12-2 overall record, 10 points back from playoff position. Though it’s clear the loss of players like Obafemi Martins and the signing of unproductive players like Nelson Valdez have played a role in the team’s struggles, the team has also looked disjointed and dispirited lately.

"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," said Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer in a statement. "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 finishes his run with the Sounders on a 115-79-56 record, good enough for the second-best winning percentage in the league since 2009. 

Until a permanent replacement is named, longtime assistant coach Brian Schmetzer will manage the team in an interim role.