The Round Mound of Coaching

In a development which surprises absolutely no one besides John Carver, the Worlds Largest Coach© has been named MLS COACH OF THE YEAR.

After taking over from Zippy the Pinhead in 2006 he conducted probably the most merciless top-to-bottom roster demolition in MLS history, starting the season with only 3 players who had finished 2005 on the Crew roster. (Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk and Duncan Oughton).

I'll never forget sitting in the front row at the MLS Superdraft in Philadelphia watching Sigi holding a cellphone in each ear as he calmly traded away the bulk of his roster for whatever he could get - draft choices, money, bags of beans - stopping only long enough to pose for the ceremonial "freshfaced kid holding team jersey" photo, before scurrying - well, OK, more like migrating - back to his phones as Crew PR man Jeff Wuerth took back the shirt in preparation for repeating the performance in about five minutes.

All I remember thinking is "I sure hope this guy knows what he's doing."

In honesty, most of the players he drafted that day are long gone, and the two who remain see little action (although Kei Kamara did transmogriphy into Alejandro Moreno).

(And of course after the draft he jettisoned veteran GK Jon Busch, who felt he was never given a fair shot at winning the job. Busch has said repeatedly that while he'd love to be involved with the Crew when he hangs up his gloves for the last time, he will never, ever work for them as long as Schmid is involved in any way.)

As part of his contract agreement, Sigi had demanded and received absolute control over the team roster, a point he emphasized when he later remarked that "I don't tell (Crew GM) Mark McCullers who to hire to sell tickets and he doesn't tell me what players to bring in".

That kind of an arrangement can easily backfire, however, because when thigs go sour there's not another soul on Earth with whom you can share the blame.

And after two years on the job, with his team out of the playoffs yet again, it did indeed appear that Schmid was on thin ice. Feel free to insert your own joke here.

Yet, incredibly, the Crew came out of the box firing on all cylinders in 2008 and cruised to the Supporter's Shield with very few stumbles.

The only sour note in this tickertape parade is that HE MAY BE ON THE MOVE AGAIN as clearly the Seattle Sounders, only two weeks away from the MLS Expansion draft, seem to be waiting until after the season for someone they are unable to sign at the moment.

Like, for example, Schmid, whose contract will expire at the end of the season and thus is available for the right price to a group that seems to be throwing money around like drunken sailors on shore leave.

(Personally, I was hoping for the return of Alan Hinton, but some things are just not meant to be.)

Some organizations might find some embarrassment in not being able to come to terms with a coach in this situation, but HSG, whatever else you can say about them, is notoriously reluctant to pay top dollar to coaches, considering them more or less interchangeable.

And in an odd corporate quirk, they even refuse to negotiate with a coach through an agent, insisting that contract deals be worked out directly, a policy which has reportedly annoyed Schmid, who would prefer to focus on the task at hand.

In a somewhat related development, Hunt Sports group CEO Clark Hunt IS DENYING REPORTS THAT HE'S MAKING A BID FOR NEWCASTLE UNITED as was widely reported yesterday.

This would seem to leave the field clear for Uncle Phil Anschutz, who apparently either doesn't know or doesn't care that virtually everyone involved with the adminstration of international soccer, from to Sepp Blatter to Michael Platini, THINKS THAT HAVING ALL THESE AMERICAN OWNERS is bad for the EPL.

And HERE'S SOME BAD ECONOMIC NEWS with a silver lining for BS members. Just trying to look at the positives.

The Honda US Player of the Year will also be announced today. The finalists aren't much of a surprise, consisting as they do of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard.

Most observers would be surprised if it doesn't go to Howard, but this one is very seldom all that clear cut.