DC United and head coach Ben Olsen reached an agreement on a multi-year contract extension yesterday. Olsen’s record as head coach with United overall is underwhelming at 46-66-33. However, reflected in that record is the mediocre state the team was in when he took over the club in 2010. Despite the dreadful campaign last year, Olsen has guided the club to the playoffs in two of the last three years, the first trip ending a four year playoff drought. It should also be noted that even in the midst of the terrible MLS season, Olsen did guide United to the US Open Cup win adding to the the clubs hardware.
Olsen has done a considerable job of returning relevance to the franchise he played 221 matches for, including the MLS Cup winning teams in 1999 and 2004. DC United likes to consider itself the standard bearer for elite MLS Clubs and looking at their trophy case it is hard to argue against, but with LA Galaxy adding to its trophy case and soccer hot beads like Portland and Seattle joining MLS, the downward trend of the franchise was threatening that claim. Being remembered for past success is rarely fulfilling while struggling to perform in the present.
Olsen’s discipline and drive, and really his passion, have restored a lot of faith amongst the fan-base that DC United can and will remain in the top tier of MLS clubs. This extension is as much about what Ben Olsen can do as it is about what he has done.