And there we have it folks. It is official, Ben Olsen is no longer D.C. United Head Coach. As interim boss, that will be taken care of by Chad Ashton until a replacement is found.
Personally, I want to thank Ben for everything he has done for the club. It hasn’t been the easiest of times for him, but he has overseen some of the best times this club has had. Record points tally, the opening of Audi Field, being part of a side that has included the likes of Bill Hamid, Jaime Moreno, Marco Etcheverry, Paul Arriola, Lucho Acosta and not forgetting Wayne Rooney. As a player, he is a legend, as a head coach, maybe not remembered as fondly. He has won a U.S. Open Cup, but that was all. Unfortunately, that same year was one of the worst years in club history for the league. This year might top that, however. 2020 has been an odd year and for any coach that has made life difficult. He hasn’t had it easy, not that I’m making excuses, but an array of injuries to star players, restarts aplenty among a packed schedule has not made his life any easier, but, each time has dealt with most of the same issues and have not dealt with it in the same way.
I will always be thankful for the fact that he came onto the podcast, this little show in the UK via a Skype video call, spent over an hour with me reminiscing of the old playing days and his coaching career, for that, I am forever grateful, I can always say that not only have I had the head coach of my favourite soccer side, but a club legend.
It is with a heavy heart to say goodbye to one of our own as a head coach, I wish Ben all the best in his next chapter and hopefully I will be able to speak to him again soon.
D.C. United have announced that Ben Olsen will depart as head coach of the club effective immediately. Assistant Coach, Chad Ashton will assume the role of Interim Manager.D.C. United Club Statement
While Olsen will no longer move forward as the head coach of D.C. United, he and the club are working together to determine a new role for him within the organization.
“Ben has been a fabric of the D.C. United organization for more than two decades, including his role as head coach for the last ten years, and we are forever grateful for his contributions and leadership,” said Jason Levien, Co-Chairman and CEO of D.C. United. “Over the course of his 22 years with the club, Ben has been a total professional and has represented this organization with incredible class and distinction. It is our sincere hope and belief that Ben will continue to have a big impact on the organization.”
Olsen, who took over as head coach of D.C. United in 2010, has led the club to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, in addition to guiding the club to their third Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in 2013. Prior to his coaching role for the club, Olsen spent 11 seasons playing for D.C. United, winning eight trophies, including two MLS Cups (1999 and 2004).
“My overwhelming emotion right now is that I have been incredibly fortunate to be associated with this great club for 22 years. No one gets that opportunity in professional sports, and I am so much richer for all the amazing experiences and relationships along the way. I will always be grateful,” said Ben Olsen. “It is now time for a change. It is the right move. The club needs a new face and this is the right time for the club and also for me personally to move in a different direction. I spent the last 22 years waking up every morning thinking about how I could try to make this club better. I definitely didn’t get everything right, but I know I always gave everything I had to try to help this club achieve success. I want to thank everyone at the club, past and present, and all our fans for their support throughout this journey. I am very much looking forward to my next chapter and supporting the club I love.”
D.C. United will commence the search for a permanent head coach immediately and the club will provide further updates in due course.