The Columbus Crew's 11-6-4 record, tied for the best in MLS this year, is the result of coach Sigi Schmid's "soccer mind and his eye for talent," writes Michael Arace. That's why he deserves a new contract.
"He has completely overhauled the team in three years," Arace says. "Of the 30 men on the Crew's roster, only three -- Frankie Hejduk, Duncan Oughton and Chad Marshall -- are pre-Schmid holdovers. Schmid has rebuilt with care, and with an eye on long-term benefit. Twenty-two of his players are younger than 30 -- and 16 are younger than 25." General Manager Mark McCullers and "excellent" Technical Director Brian Bliss deserve credit too, "but make no mistake: this team is Sigi's, built in his image," and although the defense could be better, the improving attack has been a revelation.
Schmid's plan is working just as his contract is reaching term, but the club should offer him a new and improved deal "because he has built this team, and we know he can coach it. Pay up to maintain continuity. It would be unseemly to nickel-and-dime Schmid at this point, just because the whole league is cheap. Do what it takes to keep both sides happy, and spend not a penny more. Mostly, pay up because that's the way to do this right."