Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Adrian Hanauer says Brian Schmetzer’s job secure, for now

Sounders owner says he’s not inclined to overreact to slow start.

Last Updated
2 min read
Rod Mar / Sounders FC Communications

RENTON – Brian Schmetzer and Adrian Hanauer have been working together in one way or another since at least 2002. That’s when Hanauer, fresh off assuming control over the then-USL Sounders, first tabbed Schmetzer as his head coach.

They’ve enjoyed a lot of success together. Schmetzer led the Sounders to two USL championships and two more Commissioner’s Cups (the regular-season title) from 2002-08. Since being elevated from assistant to head coach in 2016, Schmetzer has led the Sounders to two MLS Cups and a Concacaf Champions League trophy.

But they’ve endured some tough stretches, too. In addition to missing the playoffs in 2006 and 2022, there have been extended losing streaks and slow starts. In 2017, the Sounders were 2-5-4 in their first 11; in 2018, they were 3-9-2 through 15 games; and last year the Sounders had a stretch of just three wins over 14 matches that eventually morphed into a 10-game unbeaten run.

In that sense, the Sounders’ 0-3-2 record to start this season is not an entirely new situation. As such, Hanauer is not inclined to overreact – at least not yet.

“It’s a little too early to jump to massive conclusions,” Hanauer told the media on Friday. “We’ve been through a lot of ruts with this club.

“One of the things that has led to our success is consistency, believing in the process, believing in the group. To me, there’s too much quality. We’re not a 0-3-2 team, I just don’t believe. When we are healthier it will be a lot better. This last game in LA was good. People say they are the best team in the West. If they are, I’m confident that once we get healthy we’ll start collecting points.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Hanauer’s patience is bottomless. If the struggles continue, at some point Schmetzer’s job will be on the line.

“That time always comes,” Hanauer said. “Brian and I have been together for 22 years. We can even joke about it. The time will come when either he decides to move on or it’s not working. … You have to look at every piece of the organization every single week. What can we do better? What isn’t going well? What can we optimize?

“There are tough decisions at the ownership level that sometimes come up and I’m not afraid to make them when I – we, collectively – feel it’s time.”

Schmetzer has often spoken about the tenuous nature of his job, even quipping that coaches are hired to be fired.

Given his relationship with Hanauer, though, he’s confident that when his job is on the line he’ll know.

“Not yet, not yet,” he said. “But I’m in pro sports and my job security comes down to wins and losses. When the team starts slow, I’m not naive, I read social media sometimes.

“When the time comes when he has doubts or I’m ready to retire, we’ll have those conversations. I think that’s the point he was making.”