Coming off a U.S. Open Cup victory and the franchise's first Supporters' Shield, it should probably not come as a huge surprise that the Seattle Sounders have opened contract extension talks with head coach Sigi Schmid. Sounders GM and part owner Adrian Hanauer confirmed this today, adding that he felt Schmid is worthy of MLS Coach of the Year honors.
"He's shown once again that changes can occur, that older dogs can learn new tricks," Hanauer said. "He's open to new ideas. He can be a little bit of a stubborn German like myself or [assistant coach Brian] Schmetzer or a bunch of the other Germans here, but his quality and his breadth of skill set in the MLS environment is to me top of the heap in our league.
"So: yes and yes. We're speaking with Sigi at this point and very enthusiastic and encouraged about the prospect of retaining him for more years."
Speaking to Sounder at Heart for an interview that will air on Wednesday's Nos Audietis, Schmid suggested he's hopeful that this will actually be his final coaching job. The 61-year-old has now been with the Sounders six years -- longer than anywhere he's been since leaving UCLA in 1999 -- and any contract extension would probably keep him here at least another three or four years.
"I'd like to end my coaching career here," Schmid said. "I don't know if that's possible, but that's what I'd love to do. I'd like to be connected with this club even after my coaching ends, whether that's scouting or helping somewhere -- maybe I'll go back to my business days -- whatever I could do.
"There's part of me that says I should pass it on, but I love being with the team, I love being on the field. I love the challenge of the week to week and trying to fix things. It's still exciting and exhilerating and fun. If they'll have me, I'll stay, but they need to want to have me."
All indications are that the Sounders do, but both sides are likely waiting to finalize anything until after the MLS Cup playoffs. If the Sounders go on to win MLS Cup, they'll be the first MLS team to accomplish the treble. As it is, they are one of only eight teams to win at least two parts of that honor