Optimism over new investors spreads to United locker room
Even with his side atop the Eastern Conference, Ben Olsenhasn’t exactly grown accustomed to doling out feel-good quotes this season. Often unsatisfied with some aspect ofhis team’s play, the young coach can usually find some cloud to go along withwhat has been mostly silver lining in 2012.
But on Tuesday– as he witnessed new investors Erick Thohirand Jason Levien discuss their plans for D.C. United’s future – even Olsencould find nothing wrong.
“This is great,” Olsen said with a relaxed smile. “I’m more invested than a lot ofcoaches in the club that they coach and anytime something on a big scalehappens, I feel very happy and proud about us advancing. And that’s what this is. This is a big advancement, and it opensup a lot of doors and opportunities.”
Olsen’s optimism was par for the course as Will Changwelcomed aboard his new partners at Washington’s upscale W Hotel. Though much of Tuesday’s discussioncentered on a future stadium deal, talk of a new home – at least for now – won’tchange the day-to-day operations inside D.C.’s locker room. A more likely short-term impact couldbe in player acquisition, where Levien said the club now has the ‘resources anddesire’ to pursue designated players ‘when the time is right’.
Their new employers’ ambition was a welcome sign for a groupthat has already established some lofty goals.
“I want this team to be as good as it can be,” said ChrisPontius, who attended Tuesday’s event alongside teammates Robbie Russell andPerry Kitchen. “If that meansbringing in a top-notch player then great. Everyone’s goal for our team this year is to win SupportersShield and then win MLS Cup, and there’d be something wrong with us if weweren’t open to new players.”
Levien and Thohir met with United’s players beforetraining early Tuesday morning. The meeting didn't last long, but a clear message was left behind.
“There’s definitely expectations,” Kitchen noted. “But I think it’s a goodmotivation. We’ve already talkedabout getting back to the glory days, so I don’t think there is any addedpressure. We are definitelyexcited to play for guys who have the same vision as we do.”