D.C. United have announced that Head Coach Ben Olsen has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with the Black and-Red. Olsen is the seventh Head Coach in club history and second most tenured in Major League Soccer.
In 2018, Olsen led D.C. United to one of the most impressive mid-season turnarounds in MLS history after the Black-and-Red moved into their new stadium at Audi Field and signed international soccer icon Wayne Rooney. United went on an impressive 11-2-4 run at the end of the season to ascend from the basement of the Eastern Conference to a fourth place finish and qualification to the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Olsen launched his coaching career following his retirement as a player in 2010 as an assistant under Curt Onalfo. He was named Interim Head Coach on August 4, 2010, following Onalfo’s departure. In eight seasons as head coach, Olsen has recorded 95 MLS regular season wins and has qualified for the playoffs five times including four qualifications in the last five seasons. The 41-year-old was also at the helm when D.C. United won the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Ben Olsen, D.C. United Head Coach: “I am proud and humbled to have been associated with this club for the last 21 years. I am thrilled that ownership has shown faith in the path my staff and I are taking with this extension. Our aim is to continue to put a team on the field that our fans and community will identify with and be proud of. The major goal, however, remains the same since the day I took the job and that’s to bring trophies back to D.C.”
Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, D.C. United Co-Chairman: “This is a very important step for us. Ben is a special part of our club's rich history and a major part of our future. He delivered one of his best performances as our on-field leader this past season, establishing a strong culture and winning foundation. We cannot wait to see what we can achieve together in the coming seasons."
Dave Kasper, D.C. United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations: “I am very pleased that Ben will continue to lead us on the field, and I look forward to working with him as we aim to add more hardware to our club’s rich history.”
Arguably the most popular player in D.C. United history, Olsen was among the club’s all-time leaders in several categories at the time of his retirement – second in games played (221), minutes played (17,098) and game-winning goals (13), third in assists (49) and seventh in goals (29). He won eight total trophies with D.C. United, including two MLS Cups (1999 & 2004). He was also 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 was named to the MLS Best XI in 2007.
Olsen also had an illustrious career with the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning 37 caps and scoring six goals. He was a member of the 2006 World Cup team and part of the team that reached the bronze medal game at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Olsen made his full international debut against Australia on November 6, 1998, and scored his first goal against Chile on February 21, 1999.
Prior to his professional career, from 1995-1997, Olsen spent three seasons at the University of Virginia, during which the Cavaliers posted a 56-8-8 record. He compiled 34 goals and 41 assists, starting every game (69) of his collegiate career, and in 1997 he was named the 1997 Soccer America Player of the Year and a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
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