Wolff's veteran presence pays off for D.C. United

Josh Wolff

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WASHINGTON – Entering the 2011 season, D.C. United featured a roster heavy on young, up-and-coming talent.

But dotting the group were a handful of veterans, and, aside from midseason acquisition Dwayne De Rosario, none was more important than Josh Wolff. The striker bagged five goals and added seven assists in 30 appearances and wore the captain’s armband on occasion.

With another offseason ahead of him, the 34-year-old isn’t planning on hanging up his cleats just yet, but he isn’t jumping to any conclusions, either.

“I think everybody wants to play as long as they can, but at some point you have to see what makes sense,” Wolff told MLSsoccer.com. “I certainly feel good enough to keep playing, but we’ll talk to the powers that be and go from there.”

The year started off with a bang for the former US international. After joining DC following seven seasons in Kansas City, he made an immediate impact, scoring the team’s first goal of the season in a 3-1 victory against the Columbus Crew.

By season’s end, though, the sheer number of games had taken their toll on both Wolff and DC.

“For me it was a good year, started out real well, the summer had its effects and down the stretch we played a lot of games, so we all got a bit leggy,” he said.

Working under a fellow long-time  MLS figure in head coach Ben Olsen, Wolff said he enjoyed his new surroundings, identifying his teammates as a definite bright spot. As one of the club’s elder statesmen – he is actually older than Olsen – he served as a valuable voice of experience on the field.

Although within striking distance of the postseason, the club’s inability to string together results at the end of the season ended up keeping them out of the playoffs.

“The consistency lacked,” he said, “and I think that overall the entire year that was our downfall. We’d have good moments and we’d dash in some poor performances and just weren’t able to string some games together.

“We weren’t able to complete games the way we should have – whether we were tied and we’re losing games, whether we were winning games and turned around and tied them.”

Now, with the team in the final week of postseason training sessions before departing from the nation’s capital for a much-needed break, Wolff said it’s now about sitting down and mapping out what lies ahead.

“It’s strange for guys when you’re not in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s the business side of it – the club has to figure out what direction they’re going, who’s staying, who’s going. We’ll all have those talks with the coaches and the management, and I certainly feel capable of playing [more].”

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.