Photo Courtesy of MLS

MLS coach award renamed in Schmid’s honor

CARSON, Calif. – Tributes continue to pour in for former LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid, who passed away on Christmas day at the age of 65.

The latest one came in the form of Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year award, which officially was renamed in his honor on Friday at the league’s annual SuperDraft in Chicago.

“Sigi was an important part of our league from the very early years in our history, and he had a significant impact on everyone he touched throughout his life and coaching career,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement about the honor, now officially known as the Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year award. “While he will be remembered by many in the soccer community for his success on the field, it was his kindness and his great qualities as a father, husband and mentor that made him such a special person.”

Schmid won an MLS-record 240 regular-season games in addition to collecting 26 postseason victories and won MLS Cup titles with the Galaxy in 2002 and Columbus Crew in 2008. He coached in Seattle in 2009-2016 and returned to the Galaxy in July of 2017. He took over for Curt Onalfo before being dismissed last September.

He was a two-time MLS Coach of the Year (1999 and 2008) and won five U.S. Open Cup titles. He also won three NCAA championships (1985, 1990 and ’97) during 19 seasons at UCLA and was an assistant coach with the U.S. men’s national team in 1994.

He is a member of the UCLA Hall of Fame and U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Galaxy president Chris Klein recently took the time to express his gratitude to Schmid at a press conference officially announcing the hiring of Guillermo Barros Schelotto as head coach.

“We lost someone that was very important to us, to our club and to the sport of soccer in this country,” Klein told reporters. “We wouldn’t be here today, with this sport where it is today in this country, without someone like Sigi. He was a pioneer, he was someone that blazed a trail not only in college soccer but in professional soccer and some of our youth national teams.

“We’re going to miss him dearly, the sport of soccer is going to miss him and the people that knew him well certainly miss him greatly.”

Schelotto played for Schmid in Columbus, where Schelotto was MLS’ Most Valuable Player in 2008 and MVP of that year’s MLS Cup, and paid tribute to his former mentor as well.“He was very important for me when I came here,” Schelotto said. “Not just for soccer but human things. I want to say, ‘Thank you very much, Sigi.’ ”