Major League Soccer announced Friday that its annual coach of the year award would be named after Sigi Schmid, the former UCLA and Galaxy coach who passed away last month at 65 as he was awaiting a heart transplant.
Schmid, who guided the Galaxy to the first of their five MLS Cups in 2002, is the winningest coach in league history with 266 regular-season and postseason victories. He also won a league title with the Columbus Crew in 2008 and took the Seattle Sounders to the playoffs in each of the team’s first seven seasons.
The award, which Schmid won twice, is voted on by players, club technical staff and the media.
“Sigi was an important part of our league from the very early years in our history and he had a significant impact on everyone he touched throughout his life and coaching career,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “While he will be remembered by many in the soccer community for his success on the field, it was his kindness and his great qualities as a father, husband and mentor that made him such as special person.”
In addition to the two MLS Cups, Schmid captured a record five U.S. Open Cups and a CONCACAF title as a professional coach and three NCAA titles at UCLA, where he won 322 games and made 16 consecutive playoff appearances in 19 seasons.
Schmid is a member of both the UCLA and national soccer halls of fame.
Feilhaber signs with Colorado
Benny Feilhaber, who appeared in all 34 games for the expansion Los Angeles Football Club last season, has signed a free-agent contract with the Colorado Rapids. The deal is for a one year with a club option. Financial details were not released but the contract is believed to be worth just less than the league’s maximum budget charge of $530,000.
Feilhaber, 33, made $625,000 last season.
Galaxy close in on Polenta
The Galaxy are in negotiations with Diego Polenta and could sign the Uruguayan defender in the next few days, a person with knowledge of the situation said. The person was unable to speak on the record because talks are ongoing.
Polenta, 26, is a left-footed center back who last played with Uruguayan club Nacional. Reports late last year said he might play for Italy’s AC Milan or Leeds United of the English Championship.
Defender is a position of need for the Galaxy and team president Chris Klein said last week he expected to add at least two players to the roster before preseason training camp opens Jan. 21.
UCLA’s Amaya tops MLS SuperDraft
UCLA freshman midfielder Frankie Amaya was the first player selected in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft, going to expansion team FC Cincinnati. Amaya is the sixth Bruin to go No. 1 in the draft, most of any school.
Amaya, 18, is also the first player born in 2000 or later to be taken in the draft. He made 10 starts and 14 appearances for UCLA last season, scoring twice and assisting on two other goals.
The Galaxy traded their first pick, the 12th selection, to New York City FC for $75,000 in general allocation money but still took two players on the draft’s first day, grabbing Southern Methodist midfielder Emil Cuello, 22, with the 19th pick and Oregon State forward Don Tchilao, 22, in the second round with the 36th overall pick.
LAFC made one pick on the draft’s first day, Jamaican midfielder Peter-Lee Vassell, 19, in the second round, the 40th overall selection.