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Sounders FC head coach: ‘The president needs to stick to the presidency’

Coach Brian Schmetzer prior to a MLS soccer game against Real Salt Lake.

SEATTLE — While it remained unclear if the Seattle Sounders FC would protest during the national anthem Wednesday, the team’s coach had a strong message for President Donald Trump:

“My personal feeling is the president needs to stick to the presidency,” Sounders FC coach Brian Schmetzer said during an interview on Q13 News This Morning.

Over the weekend, Trump called for NFL players to be fired if they kneeled during the national anthem.  His comments spurred more protest, and some teams like the Seahawks didn’t leave the locker room for performances of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Schmetzer said Trump "shouldn't say things like that on TV." Players in pro sports are "free to speak" their minds,  he said, and it's not Trump's job to disparage free speech.

"He should do his job, how about that," Schmetzer said. "I'll focus on my job. Mr. President, why don't you focus on your job?"

The team had not decided if they will protest ahead of Wednesday's national anthem, Schmetzer said. If the players decide to do something, Schmetzer said, they will do it together.

Some Sounders players have previously spoken out against Trump's comments.

Stefan Frei said he "strongly disagrees" with Trump bringing the national anthem up as an issue. Brad Evans spoke on Twitter, hinting at poor leadership from Trump.

The match Wednesday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps has playoff implications, Schmetzer said.

It's also the first time the team will face Fredy Montero, who formerly played for the Sounders.

Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. on JOEtv (cable 10/ch. 22).

For the latest Sounders updates, and to learn if the Sounders will protest the anthem, download the Q13 News app.