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Sigi Schmid - Player

Seigfried “Sigi” Schmid,1964

 

Birth, West Germany,

 

Education: Bishop Montgomery High School, West Torrance, CA; UCLA,

 

In the first year of AYSO, “Sigi” Schmid played on the Firefighters, one of the first  four teams in Torrance, coached by AYSO Hall of Famer George Kay. Sigi would go on to play soccer at UCLA and then coach at Bishop Montgomery with Marine Cano , another first year AYSO player. Sigi would become the “MODEL OF  AYSO PLAYER GRADUATE SUCCESS STORIES. He would coach three NCAA College Soccer Championships at UCLA, two Major Soccer League Championships, one at Cleveland Crew and one at Los Angeles Galaxy; and thus far, (2012) a threepeat in the US OPEN Championships with the professional Seattle Sounders.

 

Sigi Schmid is the first AYSO PLAYER GRADUATE to be honored by induction into the AYSO National Hall of Fame. Most importantly, Sigi would build his UCLA legend with a preponderance of AYSO player graduates as noted in the following newspaper article by Brian Landman in 1984:   

 

SCHMID BUILT UCLA SOCCER TEAM HIS WAY… IT’S MADE IN THE USA.”

 

Don’t try to tell UCLA men’s soccer coach Sigi Schmid that a nationally competitive college team must be primarily composed of foreign-born athletes.

He won’t buy that for a second.

In fact, Schmid, a native of West Germany, is the only foreign-born member of the Bruins.

However, not too long ago, UCLA’s soccer teams had substantial international flavoring.

Schmid, a four-year starter out of Bishop Montgomery High for the Bruins from 1972-75, said he played alongside two Ethiopians in the middle, while two other Ethiopians and a Colombian assumed the forward positions.   

But as a coach, he relies on American-born athletes to carry, or in this case, kick the ball.

And it has worked. UCLA is ranked No.2 in the nation, and Schmid will be seeking his 100th coaching victory against SMU in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tourney at UCLA at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“There’s been a shift in philosophy here at UCLA,“ said Schmid, whose family came to the U.S. when he was 3 in 1956 and moved to Torrance in 1962.

  

“I won’t actively recruit a foreign-born athlete. I’m not going to turn him away, but I will not entice him to come here.”

The foreign soccer player has many opportunities to develop his skills and perhaps pursue a professional career, Schmid says.

The same is not true for the American soccer player.  

“When the American player comes out of high school, he doesn’t have a lot of options to play at a high level other than college.” He said.

“But when a foreign player wants to study and play here, he generally has not exhausted all of his opportunities to play.

“If I give him the opportunity, then I can’t give it to an American. And the American kids deserve it. 

Historically, greater opportunity has translated into the foreign soccer player possessing stronger skills.

But Schmid, who learned all his skills in the U.S., said he believes the talent disparity is steadily decreasing.

The remaining difference between the foreign and the domestic collegians is age.  Foreign recruits are usually older.

Schmid said that means the foreigner is more experienced and usually wiser.

The University of Nevada-Los Vegas, the Bruins opponent last week, started five players from South Africa.    

Schmid said the Rebel’s central defenders were 25 and 24, while UCLA’s counter parts, Paul Caligiuri and Eric Bielfield, are 21 and 20.

UCLA won, 1-0, in overtime.

Schmid’s approach has proven effective in more than just the one NCAA playoff game.

In his six years at UCLA, he has compiled a 99-17-14 record.

“My No. 1 objective when I first came to UCLA, was to recruit the best players in California,” he said. “Then I knew we could compete on a national level.”

And his recruiting track record hasn’t been too shabby.

He has landed Tim Harris, an All-American goal keeper from South Torrance High School in 1983 who now plays for the MISL’S Lazer’s; Jeff Hooker, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, and senior All-American Dale Ervine, out of North Torrance High, the team’s leading scorer.

“Some people say, ‘Your successful but look who you’ve had.’ ”

“But Harris didn’t join a national team until he was at UCLA and Ervine was recruited and signed a letter of intent before playing for a national team.

“Being able to spot the talent is half the game.”

But then Schmid has enjoyed success whenever and wherever he’s been around a soccer ball.

Bishop Montgomery didn’t have a soccer program when Schmid played there. And even though he played in the San-Pedro based Greater L.A.  Soccer League, his chances of competing in major college seemed bleak.

“I was lucky that Joe Bonchonsky, whose sons played for West Torrance, took an interest in me and helped to get me in at UCLA,” Schmid said.

“At the time, I was the first American to receive a scholarship.”

"In his four years as a player, the Bruins finished second in the nation in 1972 and ’73.

He returned to Bishop Montgomery after his graduation in 1975 as co-coach (along with another Bishop Montgomery grad, Marine Cano, now the Cal State Dominguez Hills coach).

 

In Bishop Montgomery’s first year, Schmid led them to a league title and into the CIF playoffs.  

He returned to UCLA as an assistant in 1977 and 1979.

In June 1980, he succeeded Steve Gay as coach.

Since then, Schmid has led the Bruins to the NCAA tournament four times and was named Coach of the Year by Soccer America in 1984.

He is now six wins away from passing Dennis Storer (1967—73) on UCLA’s all time soccer coaching victory list.

He will then trail Ed Stewart, whose 194 wins from 1949-66 came when soccer was still a club sport.

SMU (17-4), the 10th ranked team in the country and winners of 14 in a row is all that stands between Schmid and win No. 100.

He said that plateau represents a special personal achievement, but is actually more of a testimonial to the players, the athletic department and the entire coaching staff.

"The thing that I wanted when I came here was that when people talked about good college soccer, they’d think of UCLA quickly,” he said, “And I think that’s happened.”

“That’s what the 100 wins means.”     

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     Sigi Schmid record at UCLA is---- TBC.  

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