Ben Olsen and Andy Najar
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D.C. United announces 2011 preseason schedule

Washington, D.C. - D.C. United announced today the club’s preseason schedule, as the team prepares for the 2011 Major League Soccer campaign. Players are set to report to RFK Stadium on Friday, January 21 for a preliminary meeting and fitness testing. The Black-and-Red begin training next week in Washington before departing the Metro area on January 31. Media availability times and locations for next week will be announced tomorrow.

Following a week in the Nation’s Capital, United will launch the preseason with a visit to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the club will train from February 1 until February 12. During United’s stay in Florida, the Black-and-Red will play various exhibition matches to build fitness levels. Those opponents will be determined at a later date.

Ben Olsen’s side continues its preseason on the West Coast, with a stay in Ventura, Calif. scheduled from February 16 until February 26. The Black-and-Red are set to train at Oxnard College, with a local match against Premier Development League side Ventura County Fusion slated for Saturday, February 19 at 3:30 p.m. PST. Additional matches will be scheduled during United’s trip to California, with details forthcoming.

United heads back to Washington for two days before traveling to Charleston, SC. on March 3, where the club will make its sixth appearance in the Carolina Challenge Cup. Hosted by the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium, D.C. is set to face MLS foes Toronto FC and Chicago Fire along with the host club. United claimed the 2010 Challenge Cup, and Olsen’s team will aim to replicate this feat when it takes on Charleston on March 5, followed by Chicago on March 9. The Black-and-Red conclude the tournament on March 12 against Toronto FC.

The players return to Washington permanently on March 13, where United will make final preparations for the MLS regular season opener at home against Columbus on Saturday, March 19.

Details of D.C. United’s preseason schedule are listed below, though the schedule is subject to change. Members of the media planning to attend a preseason practice or game should contact the D.C. United communications staff in advance.

D.C. United 2011 Preseason Schedule (all times EST):

January 21: Players report to RFK Stadium
January 24 - January 28: Training in Washington, DC
January 31 - February 12: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
February 14 - February 15: Players off in Washington, DC
February 16 - February 26: Ventura, Calif.
February 19: Match vs. Ventura County Fusion (6:30 p.m.)
February 27 - February 28: Players of in Washington, DC
March 1 - March 2: Training in Washington, DC
March 3: Travel to Charleston, SC
Saturday, March 5: Match vs. Charleston Battery (7:15 p.m.)
Wednesday, March 9: Match vs. Chicago Fire (5:00 p.m.)
Saturday, March 12: Match vs. Toronto FC (5:00 p.m.)
March 14 - March 18: Training in Washington, DC
March 19: Season-opening home match versus Columbus Crew (7:30 p.m.)