German soccer and coaching great Jurgen Klinsmann visited with his friend Sigi Schmid's this morning while the Sounders trained at Starfire for tomorrow's home game against Houston.
Klinsmann spoke to the Sounders. And then he made himself briefly available to reporters.
On why he's here:"Actually a vacation. We have a family vacation going up north, going to Canada and driving around the Northwest. So I called up Sigi and said, 'I know that you have a game tomorrow, so can I watch?' ,,, with my boy obvious."
On his relationship with Schmid: "Oh, we've known each other a long time. We moved over family-wise in '98 after the World Cup in France. Sigi then called me up and invited me over to the Galaxy, so for a couple of years I kept working out a little bit on the side. Things were a lot different infrastructure-wise than today. So we've known each other a long time. And I'm pleased that he's really enjoying his work here in Seattle."
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On MLS: "Well I think MLS has come a long way. I look back how it was 10-12 years ago and now with adding teams, adding soccer-specific stadiums, bringing in players from overseas, so it's come a long way. It still has a long way to go, and I think everyone knows that. But it's awesome to see it."
On how MLS must improve: "Oh my gosh, you want to get in a long conversation! I think you can only build a house one step at a time. And I think they're doing a tremendous job. And I think Seattle plays a big role over the last two years in what's happened here, with the people behind the team, with great fans. And the facilities like (Starfire) with the kids playing alongside the pros, it connects people, it's just wonderful to see. It's a process that takes time, and next year coming in more teams: Vancouver will be part of it, Montreal will be part of it. When you look at it, where the league was 10 years ago when I was a little bit involved with it with the Anschutz group -- when I think Phil Anschutz had five or six teams just to keep the league alive -- and now where you are with different owners, different people involved in it, connecting it to the youth game, connecting it to a lower-level infrastructure, then I think it's come a long way and there are still so many things you got to do to be better."
On his interest in coaching in MLS: "No, I mean after my experience with Germany and Bayern Munich, and bringing back the family now, we're just taking a break right now. If I go back into coaching one day, I don't think it will be MLS, to be honest."
Then SIGI SCHMID commented on his visitor:
Ever since he moved to the States he's been a good friend. As he said, we come sort of from the same neighborhood in Germany, so we can talk German to each other and the other Germans wouldn't understand because there are different slangs in different areas. It's great. I've been telling him what the atmosphere is like up here and I told him when you can get up here, and obviously this worked out and I think it's going to be great for our fans to show him what our game is about on Sunday and show him how they're into it an so forth. It's something I know he's seen the growth of the game here in the States -- he's been here long enough -- and I think he's going to be impressed by what he sees on Sunday in terms of the entire Seattle Sounders experiences.
On why it's important to let such legends talk to his team: It let's them know that Sigi's not completely useless, he knows some people. No, it's good ... to be involved with quality people like that who have been successful.