In a move that’s as sad as it is inevitable, Ben Olsen is no longer the coach of DC United one month and 21 days from marking a decade on the job.
The two sides agreed that Olsen would step down as head coach, according to reports, though the Black and Red legend will have a new, undetermined role with the club.
That means Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to NYCFC will stand as his last match in charge of the club and DC is unlikely to make the playoffs. United is seven points back of 10th place with six matches left.
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Olsen, 43, was the second longest-tenured coach in MLS history, with only current Sporting KC boss Peter Vermes spending a longer time at the helm of a club.
“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.”
Like Vermes, Olsen is both a former player with his club and a USMNT veteran, earning 37 caps and six goals for the Yanks.
Olsen essentially is DC United, having made 242 of his 260 senior club appearances for the club aside from a loan abroad (Do you know the identity of that English club? Don’t cheat, think about it, and we’ll let you know at the end lof the post).
He took the reins as coach in 2010 after a short stint as an assistant coach. He won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2013 and was named MLS Coach of the Year in 2014.
The biggest bummer is that Olsen won’t get a send-off from the DC United fans but the club’s recent struggles might’ve made that a bittersweet occasion at best. It doesn’t change his status as one of the most important mainstays in Major League Soccer history. The league and club owe him a debt of gratitude.
*The loan spot? Nottingham Forest, where he played and with ex-Man City assistant David Platt and alongside Canada’s Jim Brennan, Trinidad and Tobago’s Stern John, Jamaica’s David Johnson, and English national teamer Jermaine Jenas.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) October 8, 2020