Former Seattle Sounders head coach, Sigi Schmid, confirmed to Alexi Lalas on the Mutant Gene Podcast that he underwent “a couple of interviews” with Atlanta United regarding their at-the-time vacant head coach position.
“Do you think (ATLUTD) is heading in a good direction? Was it surprising to you the direction (ATLUTD) went?” Lalas asked Schmid.
“A little bit surprising. Obviously it’s a marquee name and it’s their way to set a standard in saying ‘hey we want to be something special,’” Schmid responded.
He went on to discuss the typical MLS reservations toward foreign coaches in MLS but did praise the Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra and the rest of the ATLUTD front office.
“I think the organization is very good. I think they have a chance of being one of the top four or five clubs in the league on a consistent basis.
Schmid would’ve represented a clear MLS-knowledgeable option for ATLUTD. It’s clear from listening to his interview with Lalas he believes he would’ve been the better hire for the new expansion club.
“What happens to the foreign coaches when they get into MLS is, he’s going to be three weeks into training camp and he’s going to say, ‘You know what? We’re not strong enough in midfield. We need to add a midfielder. Let’s go get this guy,’” Schmid described to Lalas.
Obviously, the quirkiness of MLS doesn’t allow for that sort of simple player acquisition.
Schmid also mentioned the difficulties with travel, learning the unique intricacies while on the job and just how different MLS is physiologically and psychologically from other leagues, specifically European leagues.
But, does Schmid ultimately believe he is a better coach than Tata Martino?
“I always believe strongly in my coaching ability. So, if you ask me that question I would say yes.”
“I want to coach again. I’m itching to coach again. But, I also want to make sure that it’s the right situation, it’s an opportunity to win,” Schmid said.
The long-time MLS coach has not received contact from Minnesota United as of yet, but did mention he’s always looking for the next opportunity.
To me, it sounded like a coach still pitching to the next round of expansion clubs or clubs that may potentially part ways with their current managers. He greatly emphasized the need for MLS experience and came across as confident in his abilities to still coach. He isn’t writing off coaching overseas but doesn’t think he could overcome the stigma of an American coach coaching in Europe.
MLS could certainly still use a coach like Sigi Schmid. Most have predicted his move to LAFC, but I don’t believe he wants to wait that long before actually coaching again. I truly wonder if MNUFC ever gives him a call.