WASHINGTON – As a player’s career winds down, many begin to think about transitioning from playing to coaching. But D.C. United striker Josh Wolff isn’t just thinking about it, he’s doing it.
Wolff got an early start to life after soccer recently, by being officially named last week as a player-coach for United.
“It was an opportunity to have another guy in the locker room,” Wolff told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “It was something that I totally embraced. In all honesty, I’m a guy who speaks up and has ideas in a group. I don’t think it changes a whole lot, but I look forward to it.”
With the announcement, Wolff becomes the third assistant for manager Ben Olsen, joining the ranks of longtime assistant Chad Ashton and goalkeeper coach Pat Onstad.
In addition to helping D.C. in terms of the salary cap, Wolff will be given the opportunity to help mold younger players, a role he admittedly had already begun to take on. It’s his intention, however, to remain a player first, to help United on the field.
“It’s an idea that I have been embracing the last couple of years,” Wolff said. “It’s an aspect that I enjoy – being able to learn but also being able to teach, to give ideas to the younger guys. It’s something that I look forward to, but I still want to be the same player that I have always been.”
Despite the new role, Wolff is still part of the United setup, as evident by his inclusion in the match-day roster against Sporting Kansas City last weekend. Wolff, now 35 years of age – and older than his manager -- was called upon as a substitute in the 1-0 loss.
Being able to find a balance between being a coach and a player will take some time, but Wolff insists that the attitude doesn’t change from one role to the other.
“Obviously, a locker room is a locker room," he said. "We have a good time, but when it's time to train and it's time to play and compete, that’s all that matters, and that won’t change from a player to a coach.”