NEW YORK – D.C. United on Monday removed the interim tag fromBen Olsen’s title and officially named the 33-year-old as head coach, the youngest inleague history.
Olsen was an assistant for former manager Curt Onalfo at thestart of the 2010 season and took over the reins of the team on an interimbasis after Onalfo was fired on Aug. 4.
He compiled a 3-8-1 record at the helm of the club in theremaining 12 regular-season matches and was also on the sidelines for a 2-1 USOpen Cup semifinal loss in overtime against the Columbus Crew.
D.C. United management had previously indicated that Olsen’slack of coaching experience would prevent him from taking over the team in afull-time basis in 2011. However, club officials reconsidered their positionduring the offseason.
“We spent a great deal of time on this decision andinterviewed a number of qualified candidates,” D.C. United president and CEOKevin Payne said in a statement. “The more we talked about what we were lookingfor in the next coach of D.C. United, the more we talked about Ben Olsen as acandidate for the job, in spite of our prior public stance.
“Ultimately, we became convinced that Ben’s commitment,intelligence and understanding of what it means to be a part of D.C. Unitedoutweighed his limited coaching experience. We’re confident that he will do anoutstanding job.”
A team legend and fan favorite, Olsen becomes the seventhmanager for the club following in the footsteps of Bruce Arena (1996-98),Thomas Rongen (1999-01), Ray Hudson (2002-03), Peter Nowak (2004-06), TomSoehn (2007-09) and Onalfo (2010).
Like Onalfo, Olsen also played for the club, registering thesecond most appearances in DC history (221) and tasting success with the club,hoisting two MLS Cup titles in 1999 and 2004. He retired in November 2009 andwas immediately hired by United as an assistant coach.
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