D.C. United and Head Coach Ben Olsen extend contract
D.C. United today announced that it has exercised its option to extend the contract of Head Coach Ben Olsen to run through the 2014 season. Per team and League policy, details of the contract were not disclosed.
“I appreciate the commitment and loyalty this club has given me over the years,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “Hopefully I can continue to repay this organization with results and a team that our community is proud of.”
“Ben has had the leading role in rebuilding D.C. United and he is extremely deserving to have his option exercised a year in advance,” said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. “We are very excited about our future with Ben as our head coach.”
Olsen originally took the role of interim head coach after United relieved Curt Onalfo of his duties in August of 2010. Prior to this promotion, Olsen served as an assistant coach under Onalfo after retiring as a player on November 24, 2009. Following improved play under the former United midfielder, the club hired Olsen permanently as head coach on November 29, 2010.
2012 was a breakout year for Olsen as he led the Black-and-Red to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years. After losing its home debut, United went on a 16-match home-unbeaten streak – including 12 wins – to capture more home points (40) than any other team in MLS. En route to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, Olsen was named the 2012 MLS All-Star Game Head Coach, leading the League’s select squad to a 3-2 win over 2012 European champions Chelsea FC.
As a player, Olsen was amongst the club’s all-time leaders in several key categories at the time of his retirement – second in games played (221), minutes played (17,097) and game-winning goals (13), third in assists (49) and shots on goal (155), and seventh all-time in goals (29). Arguably the most popular player in United history, the midfielder won eight total trophies while with the team, including two MLS Cups (1999 & 2004). He was a two-time All-Star (1998 & 1999), the 1998 MLS Rookie of the Year, the 1999 MLS Cup MVP, the 2003 USSF Humanitarian of the Year and an MLS Best XI selection in 2007.
In addition to his storied tenure with United, Olsen had an illustrious career with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He made his full international debut against Australia on November 6, 1998. His first goal for the U.S. came during just his second cap when he tallied against Chile on February 21, 1999. In 2000, he was part of the team that reached the bronze medal game at the Sydney Olympics before falling to Chile. Olsen was selected to the 2006 World Cup squad and played 51 minutes in the team’s final match against Ghana. In total, the midfielder earned 37 caps and notched six goals with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Prior to his professional playing career, Olsen spent three seasons (1995-97) at the University of Virginia. During his time with the Cavaliers, the team posted a 56-8-8 record. All told, the midfielder compiled 34 goals and 41 assists and started and played every game (69) of his collegiate career. After his junior season, he was named the 1997 Soccer America Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy. In his senior year, Olsen was selected as the ACC Tournament MVP and earned NSCAA All-American First Team accolades.