MLS: Quotes from April 22 L.A. Galaxy press conference

Galaxy President Tim Leiweke "The contract [for new head coach Sigi Schmid] is for three years. We brought him here because he has been a success every place he has been. I am quite confident that he will continue that here. We think he is going to win. The reality is that this team has scored three goals in five games and a change was needed." (If Sigi was not available would Octavio [Zambrano] have been fired?) "Yes, We have an assistant coach that we have faith in, Ralph Perez, if we did not have faith in Ralph we would not let him take charge Saturday night (Galaxy vs. San Jose). If you are going to make a change you make a change. We got fortunate that the timing was right and we convinced Sigi to leave UCLA, which was a big step, but ultimately we were making this change and the fact that Sigi is our new coach we were blessed with the timing of the decision." (On what feedback was received before the move to relieve Octavio Zambrano from the players.) "You can't ultimately let the players dictate the future of the coach. I don't want anyone to think that that's what happened here. But at the same time I think our players were missing a little bit of a spark and we knew that during the off season that there were some tensions and we had asked Octavio to work on creating a better relationship and a better style of flow and in particular better communication between the players and the coaching staff. That was one of the key points that we stressed that we were going to be looking for from him as a growth standpoint as a coach. It became pretty obvious to us in the last week that that was still an issue. Whether the players love the coach or hate the coach, we think that it is critical for the players and coach to communicate and that wasn't going on here. Unfortunately, we feel that it showed on the field and the players in particular wanted to be coached and communicated with and wanted to be told what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. We were concerned about the chemistry and communication in the locker room and that the change had to be made in order to reach the maximum potential that these guys have as a team." Galaxy GM Sergio del Prado "I wish to thank Octavio for his efforts on behalf of the L.A. Galaxy his contributions will always be appreciated. However, at this time we feel that it is in the best interest of our soccer club to make this change. A change that we are confident will improve our club. It is no secret that we have not been happy with our play to date nor with the development and progress of our team." (On Sigi Schmid) "We feel that in order to be a force leading into the playoffs and to secure an agreement with a coach that we feel will be the best fit for this club we had to make the change now. We are very fortunate to have entered into this agreement with Sigi. He has a tremendous record as a coach and in developing young players, his UCLA program has produced more MLS players than any other university in the country. He has a great knowledge of young international players throughout the world." New L.A. Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid "Obviously, I have spent a lot of years at UCLA. I spent a lot of years in Southern California. I was very happy at UCLA and would not just leave UCLA for anyplace. I think this is a great opportunity for me and it's a great opportunity for the LA Galaxy. I have complete confidence in this team. I think there is a great level of talent but more so than anything I think the ownership group is committed to this team being successful on the field and being successful off the field. It is going to take time for all of that to develop but I feel very strongly and very confident of the fact that things are going to proceed very well in the future. I am excited by this opportunity and I am excited about the opportunity to join this club. In the MLS I've obviously consulted with people and everybody I've talked to from Bruce Arena to Thomas Rongen. Everybody said it was the right move at the right time. I'm just happy to be here and look forward to getting to work as soon as possible." (On number of UCLA players on the club) "First off I am a very lucky person because as a coach often as you know coaching means traveling and coaching in a different places. I have been very lucky in that I have been coaching basically my entire adult life in Los Angeles. Obviously, a lot of our players from UCLA have moved on to play in the MLS and that is something I have always been very proud of because when as I was taught as a coach that the measure of a coach was how players can play at the next level. I think we had good success with that at UCLA." (On former UCLA player Seth George) "Seth is over in Germany right now. The last time I spoke to Seth probably was in the middle of March that I actually spoke to him. I don't know were he stands right now. He was drafted by the Galaxy, so he is basically the property of the Galaxy, but right now I need to look at what is right here." (On his next steps with the team) "I think the first thing that I have to do is observe, watch and use my ears and my eyes. Listen and sense what is going on. Every coach looks at things a little bit differently and there are lots of different ways to be successful. It is shown in the world of soccer that you have teams that play one way and they win world cups and teams that play another way and win world cups. I will look to which players are out there and may catch my eye. I don't know what's going to happen on down the line and what changes are going to be made. I can promise you we are going to be about winning games, that's what we want to do -- win games." Assistant Coach Ralph Perez "I enjoyed every minute, every second working with him [Octavio Zambrano], I'm very thankful that he brought me here to Los Angeles to work with him. I thought we worked well together and I hope that I complimented him in his work. I wish him nothing but the best in whatever future endeavors will occur for him. I am sure with his talent and what he has achieved in this league and prior to coming to this league. I am sure in this musical chairs of coaching he will wind up with a new team somewhere in the immediate future in Major League Soccer. I wish him the best." "If someone were to say to me if I were a general manager, who would be one of the best candidates for a coaching job in this league, Sigi's name would always pop up." Defender Paul Caligiuri "I think at the start of this season you didn't hear about any great news of any acquisition of great players or coaches and I think this is the biggest acquisition of this year. I think we went out and searched for the best of the best and Sigi Schmid is the best candidate and best college coach out there. I am one of the six players to have played for him. I am very excited because I know what his attributes are as a coach: his focus, his direction, but most of all his leadership. He is going to go into the locker room and people will respect him " Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman "Obviously, I think everybody here is disappointed. We feel remorse for Octavio because he has really put a lot into this club, but at the same time as a member of the sports community you have to realize things like this happen. I am extremely excited about having Sigi here. I played for him at UCLA and he is somebody who is unbelievably gifted as a coach. Somebody who will tactically improve this team to a point were we are going to win games for a long time to come. I am happy to see him here with the Galaxy."
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