Going worst-to-first does wonders for public image, and job security too.
Following the team’s leap from 16-point season in 2013 to sitting atop the Eastern Conference with five games left in the 2014 regular season, the club announced a “multi-year extension” for the 37-year-old.
Manager of DC United since 2010 as manager, and in his 15th year overall with the club, Olsen called it “my family and my identity,” and said “this is the place I belong.”
“We are proud of the job that Ben has done leading the team, and we are excited about securing his future with D.C. United,” co-owner Jason Levien said at the announcement. “Proving himself as a coach just as he did as a player, he has kept the group together through adversity, and he has the club poised for immediate and future success.”
The club confirmed at the announcement that with Olsen’s contract extension complete, they will look into and pursue extending their deal with assistant Chad Ashton.
Olsen’s transition from player to manager went lightning quick, retiring as a DC United player in 2009 and taking an assistant position less than a year later. With Curt Onalfo fired in 2010, Olsen was named manager and has been ever since.
GM Dave Casper said the following:
“Ben has re-established a winning culture at D.C. United, and I’m very pleased that he has reached a multi-year agreement with the club to continue his excellent work. He has forged a playing style that is very effective in MLS, and fostered an identity that ‘the team is the star,’ one that our fans in the D.C. metropolitan area are very proud of. I look forward to continuing a strong working relationship with Ben with the goal of adding more silverware to our trophy case.”
Hard to believe those words are coming from the GM of a team that won just three league games last year.
Levien also mentioned that the club would like to break ground on its new stadium sometime in 2015.