The Tuesday Open Cup match between Sounders FC and amateur Cal FC also matches coaches Sigi Schmid and Eric Wynalda.
And the former U.S. national team star said today that he owes his career to Schmid:
"If you want to talk about the the most ironic part about all of this is that I don’t have a career without Sigi Schmid. I would have never been a soccer player if he didn't show up on a Saturday morning in Simi Valley in 1986, sit in a lawn chair and watch me play. He walked up to me and my dad after the game was over and he said, ‘Hi, I’m Sigi Schmid.’ I said, ‘I know who you are.’ He said, ‘Where’s your dad.’ ‘He’s over there.’ ‘I guess I’ll see you at the state tryouts.’ And I said ‘coach, I didn’t make my district team.’ And he said ‘You just did; I’m the state team coach. Where’s your dad?’ and that was the beginning. That was the very beginning of my career. You take all of that, the things you learn as a palyer, the good, the bad, and what’s important. If there was any lesson I learned from Sigi Schmid, it was to trust your instincts, never give up on people and never stop looking because they’re out there."
Schmid was asked about that:
"I've known Eric since he was about 14 or 15 years old. He came to a camp I ran out in Palos Verdes at Nansen Field and I saw him play in high school and so forth. I was the one who first recommended him when he first came to the B National Team. I recommended him to [Bob] Gansler and he ended up making the World Cup team. I've always felt he's had a ton of talent. Eric's always been a very free spirited and independent individual, which, as a forward, was a very good quality to have because he had the little bit of independence of mind and thought and determination and belief in himself and it carried him an awful long way. I was also the one who, when Bora [Milutinovic] had banned him from the U.S. National Team because he'd had an altercation at practice, I was the one who was sent to Germany to watch him play with Saarbrücken and make the determination, 'Should we bring him back or not?' Obviously, I supported him coming back for the World Cup in '94 and he rewarded us by scoring the first goal. Eric's quality is what got him there; all I did was tell somebody to look at him."