Thinking outside the box makes my head hurt, so I went with the obvious today and asked coach Sigi Schmid how he feels about going against his former team this weekend: the Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m., at Qwest Field. And that topic also is the focus of my story in our Friday paper.
“I have a lot of friends there,” he said. “When you work with a staff for three years you obviously stay in contact. Because of the league rules you don’t want to be accused of tampering or anything like that, so you can’t stay in touch with the players. But there are a lot of players that I have known for a lot of years there.”
We asked him about his decision to leave Columbus after leading them to the Supports Shield and MLS Cup: “It was hard. It was hard. Obviously it had taken us three years to put the team together. You can see even despite their record it’s still a quality team, a quality group. And winning a championship always puts it in a special place. But the way things happened, it is what it is. I’m here now, and so we move forward.”
When Schmid was hired in Seattle, I asked him if he would have stayed there had Columbus management instantly offered the kind of contract that he thought he deserved.
This was his answer from those months ago:
"It was a situation in Columbus where things didn’t proceed as I thought they were going to proceed in our negotiations, especially early on in that stage. At that point, I wanted to look at what other opportunities are out there. I’m getting older, so maybe I’m a little more limited as to how many more years I can do this. When I was presented with the opportunity (in Seattle) and came out to visit, it just seemed like the right fit."
Remembering that answer, I asked if that for all his feelings for all his friends among the players and staff in Columbus, if there also was some feeling that he hadn’t been shown proper respect by the front office there.
“That’s a front office decision, and that’s the way the negotiations went,” he said. “I try not to worry about that.”