The Crew has halted, temporarily, at least, any plans for Schmid to join the expansion Seattle Sounders, filing tampering charges that prompted Schmid to decide not to return to Columbus. "Without a doubt, if I'm coaching a team on the West Coast, it's an easier situation for my family," said Schmid, who retains a permanent residence in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Schmid was offered a contract to coach Seattle last week, but before he could respond, he learned that a move would have to be put "on hold" because of an investigation by Major League Soccer into alleged improprieties that occurred during his courtship by the Sounders.
The Crew believes Schmid had contact with Sounders officials despite being denied permission during the season to talk to other clubs. Later, after Schmid was out of contract, the Crew cited a clause in Schmid's contract that restricted him from disclosing confidential information to another team.
"Just because your contract expires doesn't mean your obligations do," Crew general manager Mark McCullers said. "Any employee who has access to confidential and proprietary information has language in their contract that protects the interest of the organization."
Schmid and McCullers would not elaborate on the dispute, but McCullers said it would be reasonable to expect the Crew to be compensated if Schmid is hired by Seattle.
"It's sort of like a lawsuit against you," Schmid said. "It's easier to settle for $25,000 or something than to fight it. You can make it ugly and drag it out and cost everybody a lot of money, or (settle). But I don't know why Seattle would have to pay anything to the Crew."Also in today's Dispatch, Michael Arace looks into Schmid's broken relationship with the Crew.
In the Pacific Northwest, Schmid's introduction as Sounders coach has for weeks been treated as a fait accompli. McCullers is of a like mind. The Crew, under the belief that the Sounders had premature contact with Schmid, filed tampering charges with the league.
Schmid said he was still considering a return to Columbus -- until the tampering investigation halted his interview process in Seattle. Then, he made his decision.
"Family impacted it," Schmid said. "Finances impacted it. But the length of the process with the Crew impacted it, as well."