UPDATE: Adrian Hanauer added a little more context to the contract extension, noting that there are some club options and performance triggers that could keep Sigi in Seattle until 2015, as opposed to guaranteeing him through then. He also noted that the current run of form played virtually no part in the extension, that it was more about the overall body of work.
Looks like Sigi Schmid will be sticking around for awhile. The only coach in the Seattle Sounders' MLS history -- and one of the most accomplished coaches in U.S. history -- signed a contract extension that could keep him patrolling the XBox Pitch sidelines through 2015. Under Schmid's watch, the Sounders have won two U.S. Open Cups, made the playoffs twice and averaged 1.60 points per match.
"From the moment we hired Sigi I knew it was the right decision, and that he was the right man for this particular club," Sounders owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a team release. "I feel that even more strongly today.
"Beyond the victories and the trophies won, Sigi possesses a strong, positive character and he has represented himself and this club with tremendous class and professionalism," added Hanauer. "Sigi is the right coach to lead us to more successes and more championships."
Of course, the first 2.5 seasons have not gone perfectly, either. The Sounders have failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs and have only scored one goal in their four playoff games. Up until recently, he had also been accused of failing to adapt to his style of play and has often been accused of not utilizing the personnel he does have in the most effective way.
Schmid's original contract was for three years, though, and with the Sounders playing as well as any team in MLS, the timing does make sense. Even Schmid's loudest critics would admit that he has expertly handled this team for the past couple months and deserves significant credit for turning what looked to be a lost season into one that shows extreme promise.
Since losing the first two games of this season, the Sounders have gone 9-2-8 and posted a +10 goal difference. More recently, they've gone on an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions, climbed into second in the overall table and advanced to the franchise's fifth straight Open Cup semifinal.
In the release announcing the extension, Schmid made sure to point out that the Sounders' success has been about far more than just him.
"This has been a collaborative effort. Working with the ownership, our GM/owner Adrian Hanauer and technical director Chris Henderson, has been very rewarding. The administrative support staff and especially the coaching staff have been phenomenal," Schmid said. "They are very talented, they have worked extremely hard, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we move forward as a team."