Former LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid died Tuesday at the age of 65.
Schmid, the winningest coach in MLS history, was hospitalized earlier this month at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in need of a heart transplant, as reported by the LA Times. The cause of death was not disclosed, but his family released the following statement:
“On Tuesday, December 25, Sigi Schmid passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles due to a personal health matter. Our family is deeply saddened by his passing and is taking this time to grieve the loss of a tremendous husband, father, leader and mentor. We also recognize how much Sigi meant to so many people across the U.S. Soccer landscape and around the world at different levels of the game. That community meant a great deal to him as well, and for that reason, it was important to us that we share the news of his passing. While we mourn his loss, we appreciate privacy during this challenging time and will not be issuing further statements. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks to please consider a memorial gift to support the men’s soccer program at UCLA, Sigi’s alma mater. Donations in memory of Sigi may be directed to the attention of Emily Lerner of UCLA Athletics at 310-206-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Schmid began his coaching career in 1980 at UCLA. He followed 19 years coaching the Bruins with an illustrious career in Major League Soccer. He coached the LA Galaxy on two separate occasions (1999-2004 and 2017-18). He stepped down as the Galaxy’s coach in September with six games remaining in the 2018 MLS season.
Between those Galaxy stints, he coached the Columbus Crew (2006-2008) and the Seattle Sounders (2009-2016). In 2015, he was hospitalized for several days in the middle of the Sounders’ season, but returned to finish out the year.
Schmid won MLS Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2008, and he led his teams to MLS Cup victories in 2002 and 2008. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015 and the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
“Major League Soccer is devastated by the news of the passing of Sigi Schmid,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Sigi will go down as one of the leading figures in the history of our league. From Los Angeles to Columbus and Seattle, Sigi won more games than any coach in MLS history and led his clubs to multiple championships, including two MLS Cups and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups.
“Sigi’s passion for soccer was unrivaled, and he was loved and admired by everyone in MLS. We deeply mourn his passing and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Valerie, their children, and all of his loved ones.”
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former MLS head coach Sigi Schmid.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time, and his legacy will continue to live on through the impact he's made on the game in the United States. pic.twitter.com/vGS7UX51Ey
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 27, 2018