As expected, it hasn’t taken long for Sigi Schmid’s name to start surfacing among MLS teams looking for head coaches. Last week, Schmid’s name was mentioned as one of five coaches currently being considered by Minnesota United. Now comes word that Schmid has already interviewed for Atlanta United’s opening, and could be named head coach if former Argentina boss Tata Martino turns them down.
It’s not hard to understand why either team would be interested in Schmid, who helped the Seattle Sounders put together the best expansion season in modern MLS history. Since the 1998 Chicago Fire won MLS Cup in their inaugural year — which came just two years after MLS kicked off — the Sounders are the only expansion team to qualify for the playoffs their first year. The Sounders would, of course, go on to qualify for the playoffs in each of Schmid’s first seven seasons, before he was effectively fired with the team looking likely to miss the postseason in Year 8.
Of the two 2017 expansion teams, Atlanta looks like it might make a little more sense. Schmid has strong ties to Atlanta through Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. Schmid coached Bocanegra at UCLA from 1997-1998 and on the 1999 United States U20 team. The two have apparently remained reasonably close ever since.
There are also rumors that Schmid is holding out for the LAFC position. They are scheduled to join MLS in 2018. There are few who know the LA market better. Schmid grew up in Southern California, played and coached at UCLA, won a MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup as head coach of the LA Galaxy and has maintained a residence there through his Sounders coaching tenure.