Statement from Lesle Gallimore, United Soccer Coaches President, on the passing of Sigi Schmid
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of American coaching icon, Sigi Schmid. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to his wife, Valerie and the entire Schmid family. I grew up in the South Bay and had my first encounter with a young Sigi when I was in the 8th grade and was one of two girls at Golden West Soccer camp at Pepperdine in the summer of 1977. Sigi was one of the coaches and along with other coaching legends in the making, I now know how fortunate I was to have met this man. Sigi, his brother Roland, and his father Fritz pioneered soccer in the area where I grew up and it was never a question as to whether girls & women should play, referee, or coach. The game was for everyone.
I followed Sigi’s career religiously and to this day profess that he is the best coach to have never skippered our U.S. Men’s National Team. His accomplishments at UCLA were Wooden-esque. He was a tremendous coaching educator and gave me one of my earliest exposures to U.S. Soccer and coach education. His friends and colleagues have become some of my closest friends and colleagues in the game. Sigi, though seemingly stoic, was a giving and kind-hearted man who included everyone who loved the game as much as he did; to me he was truly larger than life.
When our Seattle Sounders joined the MLS and Sigi was named as our first manager, I’ve never been so excited to follow a team. After his departure from Seattle we kept in touch and after my UW team suffered a tough loss at UCLA two seasons ago, Sigi popped his head into our team tent after the game to give me his take on the game and encouraged me to stay confident in my ability and insight. He didn’t have to do that, but did.
Sigi Schmid was a long-time and valued member of United Soccer Coaches, and the entire coaching profession owes him a debt of gratitude for his service, his contributions to our sport, and his ability to unite people around the love of the game. He still had so much to give and his coaching legacy lives on through his children and the countless others who learned from him as I did. Auf wiedersehen und ruhe in frieden lieber freund. Good bye and rest in peace dear friend.”