D.C. United name Ben Olsen as new head coach
NEW YORK – D.C. United on Monday removed the interim tag from
Ben Olsen’s title and officially named the 33-year-old as head coach, the youngest in
Olsen was an assistant for former manager Curt Onalfo at the
start of the 2010 season and took over the reins of the team on an interim
basis after Onalfo was fired on Aug. 4.
He compiled a 3-8-1 record at the helm of the club in the
remaining 12 regular-season matches and was also on the sidelines for a 2-1 US
Open Cup semifinal loss in overtime against the Columbus Crew.
D.C. United management had previously indicated that Olsen’s
lack of coaching experience would prevent him from taking over the team in a
full-time basis in 2011. However, club officials reconsidered their position
during the offseason.
“We spent a great deal of time on this decision and
interviewed a number of qualified candidates,” D.C. United president and CEO
Kevin Payne said in a statement. “The more we talked about what we were looking
for in the next coach of D.C. United, the more we talked about Ben Olsen as a
candidate for the job, in spite of our prior public stance.
“Ultimately, we became convinced that Ben’s commitment,
intelligence and understanding of what it means to be a part of D.C. United
outweighed his limited coaching experience. We’re confident that he will do an
A team legend and fan favorite, Olsen becomes the seventh
manager for the club following in the footsteps of Bruce Arena (1996-98),
Thomas Rongen (1999-01), Ray Hudson (2002-03), Peter Nowak (2004-06), Tom
Soehn (2007-09) and Onalfo (2010).
Like Onalfo, Olsen also played for the club, registering the
second most appearances in DC history (221) and tasting success with the club,
hoisting two MLS Cup titles in 1999 and 2004. He retired in November 2009 and
was immediately hired by United as an assistant coach.
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