Five former Black-and-Red players - Raúl Díaz Arce, Marco Etcheverry, Roy Lassiter, Ben Olsen and Tony Sanneh – were nominated yesterday for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2013 elections. Olsen, United’s current head coach, and Sanneh are two of five players in the group of 22 nominated in their first year of eligibility.
Voting will continue through February 22, and players who appear on at least 66.7% of ballots will earn election into the Hall of Fame.
Raúl Díaz Arce
Díaz Arce featured for the Black-and-Red for four seasons (1996, 1997, 2000, 2001). The Salvadoran international finished as the Golden Boot runner-up in 1996 with 23 goals en route to helping the club capture the inaugural MLS Cup. United also claimed the 1996 U.S. Open Cup and 1997 Supporters’ Shield with Díaz Arce.
A three-time MLS Cup winner and one-time MLS Cup MVP, Etcheverry appeared in 191 games (180 starts) for the Black-and-Red for 1996-2003, tallying 34 goals and 101 assists. Etcheverry still holds the club record for his marks in games played and assists.
Lassiter is regarded as one the all-time greats in MLS, with a single-season goal-scoring record set in the 1996 inaugural season to support this claim. Lassiter joined the Black-and-Red for the 1998 and 1999 seasons (and returned in 2002), helping the team to its third MLS Cup in four seasons. The striker suited up for United 67 times (55 starts), tallying 36 goals and 17 assists in the process.
Olsen, United’s current head coach, joined the club as a player in 1998 and spent his entire 11-year professional career with the Black-and-Red. The midfielder appeared in 221 games (200 starts), adding 29 goals and 49 assists. The Pennsylvania native is second on the club’s all-time lists for games played (221) and minutes (17,098). Olsen also led the team to two MLS Cup titles (1999, 2004) during his on-field tenure at RFK Stadium.
Sanneh guided D.C. United to two MLS Cups in three seasons, helping the club win titles in 1996 and again in 1997, but falling just short in the final to the Chicago Fire in 1998. The midfielder/defender became the first MLS player to score in back-to-back Cup finals. In total, Sanneh played 71 games (69 starts), collecting 14 goals and 25 assists for the Black-and-Red.