Seattle Sounders FC finally recognize Brian Schmetzer’s impact on the team by removing the interim tag and officially naming him as head coach.
Seattle Sounders FC held their Alliance Annual Business Meeting at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night, which included most things you would expect from such an occasion. However, the event was also the platform for the franchise to officially announce Brian Schmetzer’s hiring as head coach.
In truth, the decision was probably long overdue, given everything Schmetzer has achieved since taking over the role on an interim basis from Sigi Schmid, at the end of July. At the time the Sounders were 10 points out of a playoff spot and in ninth place in the Western Conference, with just 14 games remaining.
What has happened since has been nothing short of remarkable, with the 54-year old overseeing the most dramatic turnaround since the Sounders entered MLS in 2009. The team went 8-2-4 the rest of the way and now stand on the verge of the Western Conference Final, in large part due to their head coach.
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Speaking to the media, Schmetzer said: “If I could have scripted a life for myself — I don’t know that, along the way, if I would have gone through the chapters as they played out — but coaching the team you started with, that’s a big deal.”
The Seattle native was genuinely touched by the rousing ovation he got from the crowd on Wednesday night: “The reception that I got was more than I anticipated.
“The amount of people in the room, and the enthusiasm when that announcement was made, really touched me. That was a good moment for me.”
Understandably, some analysts will point to Schmetzer’s good fortune in the timing of Nicolas Lodeiro’s arrival. The Uruguay international galvanized the team, with four goals and eight assists in just 13 games.
However, this was more than balanced out by the loss of Clint Dempsey, due to his issues with an irregular heartbeat. Overall, the team responded positively to Schmetzer’s coaching and tactics, culminating with last Sunday’s win over FC Dallas, which saw the Sounders score three goals in eight sensational minutes.
In that respect, don’t expect Schmetzer to be distracted from the task at hand, despite the timing of the decision to official name him as head coach. From interacting with him, I can tell you he is an intelligent, focused individual, who knows how to prioritize everything.
As such, Sounders’ fans shouldn’t worry about the team taking anything for granted, as they head to Dallas this weekend with their commanding 3-0 lead. And for that, we should all be eternally grateful to Schmetzer.
What’s your take on the Sounders’ officially naming Brian Schmetzer as their head coach? Did they take too long, was it sooner than you would have liked or announced at the ideal time? Let us know in the comments section below.