MLS- D.C. United

Olsen to be named D.C. United head coach

Ben Olsen (ISIPhotos.com)

D.C. United took a good look around as it considered who to make head coach come 2011 before decided it already had the man for the job.

Ben Olsen will remain D.C. United head coach for the 2011 season, removing the interim tag he has held since taking over for Curt Onalfo, who left D.C. in the midst of a horrific season.

The club will introduce Olsen on Monday, sources told SBI on Sunday. He took over a team in shambles, and while he couldn't keep the team from finishing with the worst record in MLS, Olsen's team did play better and did manage some good results late in the year. One of the most beloved players in club history, Olsen began the 2010 season with no coaching experience, but did well enough to earn a chance to keep the job after D.C. considered several other candidates.

What do you think of the decision? Like the job Olsen did as interim head coach? Were you hoping for someone else?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Zorbthegeek

    The problem in DC is not coaching. Olsen can only be successful if they bring in quality players. That roster is terrible–absolutely terrible.


  • SdbransonUSA

    I hope that Ben does well, but I can’t help but think that the DCU “brain trust” is setting him up to fail. Their personnel decisions have been terrible over the past few years, and it’s clear that Payne and Kasper aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.


  • JoeW

    Evidently as part of this decision, DCU’s long-time GK coach (Mark Simpson) is not being retained. I guess too many cases of a veteran GK comes in and starts playing like a deer staring at headlights (Louis Crayton, Zach Wells, Troy Perkins pt. Deux).


  • WonsanUnited

    “One of the most beloved players in club history, Olsen began the 2010 season with no coaching experience, but did well enough to earn a chance to keep the job after D.C. WERE REJECTED BY several other candidates.”



  • Scott A

    Yeah, playing in RFK and bleeding money has to be wreaking havoc with their finances. I’m a NY fan and even I want them to sort it out; it’s just pathetic.


  • EricWynaldaWillClubYou

    I do not see Olsen being successful at all. Zero coaching experience. Not too mention a team that already is in disarray, Kasper and Payne there for the long haul, stadium issues, etc.

    Ben needs to work along side someone like Arena for a few quality years before taking a head coaching job. But then again look at Kreis…


  • Jimmy Bobo

    Too much, too soon for Ben. If he gets anything from this collection of players (outside of Dax and Najar) it will be a miracle on grass.


  • Jeff

    Absolutely hate this decision, and I’ve been a United fan since November 1995. Also a huge Olsen fan during his days on the field. But we need some veteran leadership now, not a guy learning the ropes. Last two coaching decisions have been piss poor. How do we not get Sarachan? Or Hamlet? I’d even take Richie Williams right now. But Ben? Is money this tight?


  • georg

    Jason Kries had absolutly no coaching experience and has done great at RSL. Make no mistake he will, like Kries make some big mistakes but if given a chance he may prove to become another great young coach in MLS.


  • bandeeto

    As an RSL fan I believe that Olsen has a chance. I hope they give him a full year to see what he can do, but then again Kreis already proved that passion, drive, discipline, and hard work can overcome a lack of experience. At least DC is in the East. Would be much harder to rebound in the West. If they can get their GK an defence sorted, and Dax and Najar can gel with eachother to provide for the strikers, DC could be decent next year. Good luck DC and Ben Olsen (except against RSL).


  • Alex

    Not sure about the hiring. I’m just paying attention to the neon green dude behind Olsen in the picture.


  • not interested

    The neon green mascot was DCU’s first choice and was offered the job before Ben but declined.


  • Jimbo Jones

    Jason Kreis has one of the best GMs in the game. DC has Payne and Kasper. No comparison.


  • skinnyj

    It is much too early to call Garth one of the best GM’s in the game. He is very good, or he is very lucky- maybe both. Let’s give him a few years before we start throwing that title around.


  • Joe

    Anyone else willing to buy a scenario where the DC ownership/leadership have realized that it WILL take more than one off season to rebuild this team, especially as the rebuilding is not just the roster (which is not as bad as last years record, but not as good as it needs to be), but fixing a host of management/finance/stadium side issues as well. Since that CAN’T be solved in 3 months, why not take a true rebuilding year or two where they not only invest in a young roster, but a young coach who can Growm himself, and build and mold the team his way (a tough, passionate, winning way, look at his playing resume). Sure, they won’t win the league in 2011, but no coach can change that. Grow the coach with the team.


  • Leo

    I believe that assistant coaches in MLS did not want to come and be the coach of DC UNITED because Payne and Kasper want to keep the “authority” at DCUnited.

    They want to be the general managers, the technical directors and have complete control; having Ben Olsen as coach will make it easier to tell Olsen what they want done with the team. Where is the owner, MR CHANG?I thought he said at the beginning of last season that he was going to change his team’s directors if the 2010 was a bust. How come he hasn’t removed Kasper and Payne? What will it take?


  • JoeW

    I don’t know if Olsen will work out or not. Here’s what I do know (or think I know)…

    1. The last time DC United hired someone with zero/zip/no coaching experience at any level was a guy named Peter Nowak. That doesn’t mean that you should make a habit of hiring people with no coaching experience. It also doesn’t mean all experienced coaches are sheep. But for MLS, where tactical acumen doesn’t seem to be a huge edge (see: Gullit, Ruud as exhibit A and Osorio, Juan-Carlos as exhibit B), having someone who isn’t experienced doesn’t have to be a disaster. And I’m sure there will be a learning curve. There was with Nowak, there was with Kreis, there was with Olsen last year.

    2. I don’t get the sense that it’s about control by Payne/Kasper so no assistants will work there. I do get that a lot of assistants respected Onalfo and feel he should have been given the full year (so for guys like Richie Williams who also may have felt he didn’t get a fair shake in the interviews last year), I think that’s an issue. I suspect some of the people they interviewed (like Lucien Favre) may have wanted their own assistants and/or were too expensive. The challenge with going for a successful name coach these days (Caleb Porter or Sasho Cirovski) is that coaching a big name college program is quite the gig: lots of money (in salary and camps), almost guaranteed job security, it’s not a year-round job–what’s not to like?

    I actually think the “control” and micro-managing issue that others cite is the reverse. I think Chang is an owner on the West Coast. I think Payne is struggling to do two things that take up a lot of time: identify additional investors, and work out a new stadium. I think as a result, the rest of the organization has suffered–it doesn’t get the attention and direction that you’d expect from the club President.

    3. Like it or not, Payne is heavily into tradition and leadership. He’s more likely to hire someone who has ties to DC United than not. He’s more likely to hire someone who he feels has a strong personality with a sense of direction on where he wants to take the team (which is what got Nowak hired over other people with better coaching resumes–heck, Nowak had NO coaching resume).


  • Ike

    DCU can’t afford big anything right now. If Will Chang doesn’t find an investor soon you might add us into the list of WPS teams folding.


  • Tolik

    It’s fitting that you put “brain trust” into the quotation marks. Payne and Kasper can’t be mentioned in the same sentence with the words “brain” and “trust” without the quotation marks.

    As a DCU fan from Baltimore I’d love to welcome the team here, but without these “managers”, please.


  • Johnny Thunder

    Having been a DC supporter since 96, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. I think we’re so far down right now we could really use someone with coaching experience. I love Ben and I wish him all the luck in the world but it seems like a big gamble.


  • Nova99

    Might as well be him since DCU is the live in the past club constantly boosting about Tradition and Trophies that they won 10 years ago. Didnt Payne say something to the likes of we need someone who understand the traditions of the club to be hired last season? Not a whole lot of choices out there to fit that bill!


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    Just hard to believe with all the candidates out there that Olsen was their best option. Perhaps he was their only option?


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