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Sounders stay with Schmetzer, and vice versa
by Ridge Mahoney, December 23rd, 2008 7:01AM
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[MLS] Former Crew head coach Sigi Schmid, whose hiring as Seattle's boss lagged for months yet was never in serious doubt, has followed a similarly predictable course by naming Brian Schmetzer as an assistant coach. The former NASL Sounder coached the USL-1 Sounders from 2002 to 2008, winning a pair of championships along the way. He will give the MLS franchise continuity as well as provide a baseline of knowledge and experience as Schmid builds the city's MLS team.

At the press conference to announce his hiring last week, Schmid referred to former Sounder defender Jimmy Gabriel, who was present. By picking Schmetzer, Schmid has acted wise politically and also strengthened his team's competitive operations. The pair will work with technical director Chris Henderson on many issues, the first of which is to decide which USL-1 Sounders are most ready to make the jump to MLS.

"I'm excited to work with Brian," said Schmid in a team press release. "He brings great knowledge of the Seattle area, the history of the USL-1 Sounders, and a wealth of coaching experience. That, coupled with his past playing experience, makes him the ideal assistant coach."

Schmetzer's Seattle teams won the Commissioner's Cup twice for the league's best record and qualified for the playoffs in six of seven seasons. His overall regular season record was 100-54-44.

"Having been born and raised in Seattle, and having lived most of my life here, I love this city and I couldn't have scripted a more perfect career path," said Schmetzer. "I feel lucky, first to have been chosen to coach the USL Sounders, then to be considered along with Sigi and some other outstanding candidates for the MLS head coaching job.'

Schmetzer, 46, played professionally from 1980 to 1996. He signed with the NASL Sounders after graduating from Nathan Hale High School in 1980 and played three seasons before joining Tulsa for the final NASL season in 1984. He then moved to San Diego, where he won three indoor titles with the Sockers. He later played for Tacoma and St. Louis in the MISL.

He finished his playing career in Seattle, playing for the A-League Sounders in 1994 and Continential Indoor Soccer League SeaDogs in the 1995 and 1996 seasons. His brothers Walter and Andy were also professional players.

Schmid and Schmetzer will welcome their players to the start of preseason training Jan. 21, just six days after MLS conducts the 2009 SuperDraft in St. Louis.

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