Former Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid talks about the apparent unrest in the locker room and his up-and-down relationship with Clint Dempsey.
Schmid was let go towards the end of July, with the Sounders sitting 10 points adrift of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. At the time, Soccer Wire claimed there was significant unrest within the locker room, with Dempsey in particular being singled out as being unhappy with his coach.
In fairness to Schmid, he didn’t shy away from the subject of Dempsey. However, he did respond in a diplomatic and mature way, as you would expect from such a classy gentleman.
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Speaking to Carlisle, the 63-year old said: “I think Clint is an immensely talented player. There was a frustration there because of our inability to find him with the ball in higher positions up the field.
“I think it was just a case that Clint is competitive and I’m competitive and we both want to win…Sometimes it was productive and sometimes it wasn’t as productive as it needed to be.”
Schmid was keen to rebuff the accusations that he had lost the locker room towards the end of his time in Seattle: “I know I spoke to a lot of players after I got let go, who reached out.
“I didn’t reach out to them, they reached out to me…I don’t think I lost the locker room, but that’s probably better for somebody else to say.”
Whether this is true or not, the former LA Galaxy head coach did make a reasonable point in adding: “You always have a few individuals that maybe don’t respond as well as some other individuals do. That’s common in any locker room.”
It should be pointed out that Schmid has an excellent resume from his time in North America. His accolades include the most coaching wins in MLS history, two MLS Cups, four U.S. Open cups and three Supporters Shields.
Regardless, there are those who believe the two-time MLS Coach of the Year’s departure was long overdue. Critics point to last season as evidence he was already losing the team, when at one point they went through a two-month stretch of just one win and nine loses in 11 games.
Those critics will also mention how the Sounders have been revitalized since Schmid’s departure, as evidenced by three wins and a tie. However, a big part of this turnaround comes down to the arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro.
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Understandably, Schmid regrets not getting the chance to work with him: “I’m just disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to coach Lodeiro. Especially since I had talked to (Boca manager) Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and I obviously talked to Lodeiro at the beginning of the process to make sure he was interested in coming.”
Overall, you get the feeling it was still probably time for a change, after seven plus years. Despite all the success the Sounders enjoyed under the former UCLA college coach, he fell short of the ultimate goal of winning the MLS Cup.
However, don’t take this as a knock on Schmid, who has a record to quite rightly be proud of, from his time in Seattle. It will be interesting to see how much success the franchise enjoys moving forward, especially while Dempsey is still with the team.
What’s your take on Schmid’s comments about Dempsey? How much does it impact a team when the coach and one of their star players aren’t on the same wavelength? Let us know in the comments section below.