D.C. United Inks Ben Olsen to Multi-Year Contract Extension
D.C. United announced on Thursday afternoon that they have signed Ben Olsen to a multi-year contract extension. Olsen is a homegrown legend for the black and red, having suited up on the pitch with the team and now coaching them. Olsen is the seventh head coach in the club’s history and the second-most tenured in the MLS.
As a player, Olsen led the clubs 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 led D.C. United to two MLS Cups in 1999 and 2004 as part of eight total trophies.
Olsen was the 1998 MLS Rookie of the Year, was named a two-time All-Star in 1998 and 1999, and won MLS Cup MVP in 1999.
In 2010 Olsen was presented an opportunity to take Washington D.C.’s soccer club to new heights, looking to draw on the success from his playing days as inspiration to lead on the sidelines. After retiring as a player, Olsen became an assistant coach under then-D.C. United head coach Curt Onalfo. He was named interim head coach that August.
Olsen has led D.C. United to the playoffs in five of his eight seasons at the helm. He has recorded 95 MLS regular season wins and four qualifiers in the last five seasons and he’s just getting started.
This extension comes off the heels of a historic season for D.C. United and a bright future ahead. They began the season on the road, waiting for their stadium to be constructed. They did have a few home dates however, at Maryland Soccer Plex and the U.S. Naval Academy. While they certainly missed the shaking and the noise of RFK Stadium, they couldn’t wait to open the new fortress at Buzzard Point.
They began the season 2-7-5 before becoming the buzz of a city off the heels of a Stanley Cup with the Capitals. They signed international star Wayne Rooney and opened brand new Audi Field with a 3-1 win.
With Olsen leading the way, D.C. United went on an turnaround that’s unprecedented in MLS history. They finished out the year 11-2-4 to qualify for the playoffs.
Their season came to an unfortunate end in penalty kicks that resulted in a loss to the Columbus Crew in the Knockout Round but this big extension for Olsen shows the team has faith that he can guide the club to bigger and better things in 2019.
“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,” Olsen said.
“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.”
D.C. United opens training camp on Monday and begins the season against Atlanta United FC at Audi Field on March 3.
Photos: D.C. United