Ben Olsen returns to MLS All-Star game, this time as a coach

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During Ben Olsen’s solid, occasionally stellar career in MLS, he made five All-Star teams. It took him less than two seasons to coach the All-Star game.

D.C. United’s manager will lead the league’s best players against Chelsea on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., replacing Peter Nowak.

Philadelphia Union interim head coach John Hackworth (the man who took Nowak’s spot on the club) and the D.C. United technical staff — Chad Ashton, Pat Onstad and Sonny Silooy — will provide support.

“Ben Olsen has experience playing in All-Star Games and he has guided his team to one of the best records in MLS so far this season,” Nelson Rodríguez, MLS Executive Vice President of Competition and Game Operations, said in a release announcing the news.

(Of course, logistics also played a role. Nelson again: “He and his staff also have a relatively short distance to travel and his club does not play a League match on the weekend after the All-Star Game.”)

Any thoughts, Mr. Olsen?

“This is a huge honor. This League has been a major part of my life, both as a player and now as a coach, and it’s given me a lot,” he said. “Ultimately, this recognition comes because of my team and my staff, but to represent the League on a big stage like this is a real privilege.”

Good on ya, Ben.

And, for that matter, MLS. This is a smart move. Olsen is one of the rising stars in American coaching circles. He’s the youngest of the Olsen-Jason Kreis-Caleb Porter trio. (The other two are 39 and 37, respectively.) He’s done well since taking over United before the 2011 season. All in all, it’s a position that’s well-deserved and well-earned. Now all he has to do is defeat the reigning UEFA champions.

In other news, Olsen’s young charge Andy Najar will represent Honduras in the Olympics. Congrats to the brilliant talent.