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Sigi Schmid disputes reports of locker room revolt

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Former Sounders coach does acknowledge his relationship with Clint Dempsey ‘wasn’t as productive as it needed to be.’

New England Revolution v Seattle Sounders Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

When Sigi Schmid’s departure from the Seattle Sounders was announced, there was much speculation as to the reasons. Sure, the results spoke for themselves to some degree — the Sounders were in the midst of an awful run and closer to the worst record in MLS than a playoff spot — but there were also rumors players had stopped responding to his coaching.

The most damning of those rumors were relayed in SoccerWire, which claimed there was a virtual open revolt, with players walking off the training field regularly and Clint Dempsey refusing to talk to his coach.

While acknowledging some divisions, Schmid also disputed the extent to which those existed in an interview ESPN’s Jeffrey Carlisle. Schmid pointed out that a number of his former players reached out to him in the aftermath of his dismissal and he didn’t find the level of discord particularly concerning.

"I know I spoke to a lot of players after I got let go, who reached out. I didn't reach out to them, they reached out to me. ... You always have a few individuals that maybe don't respond as well as some other individuals do. That's common in any locker room."

Schmid also disputed the extent to which he and Dempsey had issues, but acknowledged their relationship was a bit rocky.

"I think it was just a case that Clint is competitive and I'm competitive and we both want to win. We were each trying to do what we could do to make that happen. Sometimes it was productive and sometimes it wasn't as productive as it needed to be."

Schmid mostly seemed to be of the mind that the Sounders were perfectly capable of making the turnaround they’ve made if he was still coach, pointing to the addition of Nicolas Lodeiro as the key difference.

While Schmid may be right, it’s also growing increasingly difficult to second-guess the Sounders’ decision. Brian Schmetzer seems to be a genuinely popular guy in the locker room and is making a strong case to be Schmid’s permanent replacement.