Sigi Schmid, who coached the Los Angeles Galaxy to the 2002 MLS Cup and UCLA to three NCAA men’s soccer championships, has died, the university announced Wednesday. He was 65.
Schmid was admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Dec. 10. He died Tuesday from “a personal health matter,” according to his family.
Schmid was Major League Soccer’s winningest coach with a 240-183-125 record with three teams over 19 seasons. He won a record five U.S. Open Cups.
Schmid was also UCLA’s winningest men’s soccer coach with a 322-63-33 record over 19 seasons. He guided the Bruins to NCAA championships in 1985, 1990 and 1997. His .810 winning percentage is the sixth-best in NCAA Division I history.
Schmid was elected to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.
Schmid left UCLA in 1999 to join the Galaxy. He was fired in 2004 when they led MLS in points but were in the midst of a five-game winless streak.
Schmid returned to coaching in 2006 with the Columbus Crew SC, who he coached to the MLS Cup in 2008.
The expansion Seattle Sounders FC hired Schmid as their first coach for the 2009 season, remaining with them until midway through the 2016 seasons.
Schmid returned to the Galaxy 20 games into the 2017 season when they were 6-10-4 and ninth in the 11-team Western Conference. The Galaxy were 2-8-4 the rest of the season, finishing last in the conference for the first time in the history of the team that began play in 1996.
Schmid stepped down as the Galaxy’s coach on Sept. 10 when they were 10-10-8 and eighth in the 12-team Western Conference, three points out of the conference’s sixth and final playoff berth.
Schmid was an assistant coach with the U.S. men’s national team for the 1994 World Cup, had two stints as coach of the U.S. men’s under-20 national team and coached the U.S. teams in the 1991 World University Games and 1995 Pan American Games.
Born in Tuebingin, West Germany on March 20, 1953, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S in 1956 and moved to Torrance in 1962. He played for the inaugural American Youth Soccer Organization team in 1964.
Schmid was a starting midfielder for UCLA from 1972-75, helping lead the Bruins to three NCAA semifinals and two NCAA title games. He was an All-Far West selection as a senior in 1975.
Schmid received a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA in 1976. He was a Bruins assistant coach in 1977 and 1979, becoming head coach in 1980. Because of the low pay, Schmid worked part of the year as a certified public accountant several months a year early in his coaching career.
“The LA Galaxy are deeply saddened by the passing of Sigi Schmid,” the team said in a statement. “Sigi was a pillar of the Southern California and United States soccer community. He was a pioneer and his influence on the sport of soccer in the United States will long be felt.
“Sigi was a man of character, a good father, husband, friend and a passionate coach who respected everyone. He will always be a part of our family. We mourn his loss and offer our deepest sympathies to his family during this difficult time.”
Schmid is survived by his wife Valerie and four children, Erik, Lacey, Kurt and Kyle.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks to please consider a tax-deductible memorial gift to support the men’s soccer program at UCLA. Donations may be directed to UCLA Athletics, Attention Emily Lerner, UCLA Athletics, Post Office Box 24044, Los Angeles, California, 90024. Checks can be made payable to the UCLA Foundation.