Unbeknownst to just about everyone who follows the team from the outside, Brian Schmetzer signed a contract extension about a year ago and is under contract for at least a couple more years. The news was confirmed by a Seattle Sounders spokesperson on Thursday.
The lack of a formal announcement of any sort was apparently at the request of Schmetzer. The head coach is often reluctant to accept much credit for his team’s successes, and this was just another example of his humble personality.
A recent example of that came during the Sounders’ end-of-season press conference. When asked what he was thankful for, Schmetzer said this:
“I’m thankful to have a job in a tremendous organization,” he said. “We’re always looking for ways to get better, but I have a lot of pride in the club. I enjoy working with a talented group of individuals here at Starfire and down in Pioneer Square. I’m thankful for the work and effort that [the players] put in during what is an arduous and long season in what has been one of the most challenging seasons in this franchise’s history.”
While he may not want to blow his own horn, his achievements deserve to be celebrated. Since taking over on an interim basis for Sigi Schmid about midway through the 2016 season, Schmetzer has compiled a regular-season record of 47-25-23 (1.73 points per game). He’s also gone 7-3-3 in the playoffs, won an MLS Cup and taken the Sounders to a second title game. The only MLS coach with a better career record over at least two season is Tata Martino (36-16-16, 1.82 ppg).
This was the first year in which Schmetzer didn’t take his team to MLS Cup, but he still managed to make history by leading the Sounders to a 14-2-1 record during the second half of the season. In all three seasons, he’s also had to lead the Sounders on late-season charges after early-season stumbles in order to make the playoffs. While that may be a sort of backhanded compliment, Schmetzer at least deserves credit for never losing the locker room during those down times.
Perhaps due at least in part to those uneven seasons, Schmetzer has never earned enough votes in MLS Coach of the Year to even have his placement shared by the league. But he seems genuinely unbothered by this. Instead, he seems content to quietly go about his job, deferring credit to his fellow coaches, players and co-workers.
Whatever Schmetzer may lack in gravitas, he makes up for with genuine likability. He’s a coach who’s very easy to root for, and it’s good to know we’ll get to do more of that in the foreseeable future.