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Pat Onstad joins D.C. United coaching staff

Former Houston Dynamo goalkeeper becomes assistant coach alongside Chad Ashton

Pat Onstad

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Getty Images

Washington, D.C. – D.C. United announced today MLS veteran Pat Onstad has joined Head Coach Ben Olsen’s staff alongside Assistant Coach Chad Ashton. Onstad will become United’s Goalkeeping Coach after concluding a 24-year professional career that included stops in Canada, Scotland, and the United States.

“Pat has been one of the best goalkeepers in our League for a long time, and we are lucky to have him on board,” said United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “He’s a proven winner and will give us a fresh perspective on the game.”

“Pat is one of the most accomplished goalkeepers in the history of MLS and has proven over his career to be the consummate professional,” said United General Manager Dave Kasper.” We expect Pat to be a great addition to our technical staff and believe he is the perfect fit to help guide our goalkeepers and back line.”

“I’m really excited to work with Ben, Chad and the rest of the technical staff,” said Onstad. “I’d like to thank Dave [Kasper] and Kevin [Payne] for their trust in me. D.C. United is a great franchise with a wonderful history and I am excited to help get this team back to their winning ways.”

Onstad is widely considered to be one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer history, playing with Houston and San Jose for a combined eight seasons. The 42-year old is the League’s all-time leader with a goals-against average of 1.12 (minimum 10,000 minutes played). With the Dynamo, Onstad started 136 regular season matches, helping the club win back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. Most recently, Onstad started 23 regular season games for Houston in 2010, registering four shutouts in 2,070 minutes on the field. During the 2006 campaign, Onstad played every minute of every match, barring a single U.S. Open Cup fixture. Following a 1-1 draw with New England in the 2006 MLS Cup Final, Onstad helped the Dynamo win its first title through a stunning display in the penalty shootout. In 2007, Onstad led the League with a 0.82 goals against average mark, finishing second in shutouts with 11. In the MLS Cup Final at RFK Stadium that season, the Vancouver native made seven saves.

Before his time in Houston, Onstad was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes, helping the club to raise its second MLS Cup in 2003 during his first season in the League. That same year, Onstad took home the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award and a spot on the MLS Best XI squad. He would replicate this feat in 2005, helping San Jose earn a Supporters’ Shield as the club went undefeated at home. Onstad also led the League in shutouts (12), goals-against average (0.97), and wins (18).

The Canadian international earned 57 caps throughout his career, most all-time for Canadian goalkeepers. Onstad recorded a record 21 shutouts for his country, and he is the longest-serving member of the squad in Canadian National Team history. Onstad made his debut on February 18, 1988 against Bermuda in a 0-0 draw. In total, the former Houston goalkeeper represented Canada in 15 FIFA World Cup qualification matches across three separate qualifying campaigns. Onstad’s final appearance for his country came in May of 2010 in a friendly against Argentina.

At the club level, Onstad began his career in 1987 with the Vancouver 86ers, and he played for a variety of clubs before his rise in MLS, including the Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, and Scotland’s Dundee United.

Chad Asthon will resume his role as Assistant Coach alongside Ben Olsen, as the former Technical Director will make his midseason move to the bench permanent for the 2011 campaign. Ashton was first introduced as an Assistant Coach prior to the 2007 season before moving into the Technical Director role after the 2009 season. The University of North Carolina product enjoyed an eight-year professional career that began in 1990 with the Colorado Foxes of the now-defunct A-League.

Olsen’s coaching hires of Ashton and Onstad complete his staff entering the 2011 MLS season as neither Kris Kelderman nor Mark Simpson will return to the bench.