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SBI Mid-Season Coach of the Year: Ben Olsen



When taking a look at the 2013 standings, it’s hard to imagine D.C. United becoming any sort of threat in the always-competitive Eastern Conference. After tying the MLS record for lowest win total in a season with just three, few could have ever seen Ben Olsen’s D.C. United as any sort of contender in 2014.

But yet, here they are, less than one year removed from one of the worst campaigns in MLS history, sitting right near the top of the conference. Olsen and co. have gone from laughing stock to Supporters’ Shield challengers, just two points behind last year’s MLS Cup champions, Sporting KC.

Chosen as SBI Mid-Season Coach of the Year by the SBI editorial staff, Olsen beat out a field that included Real Salt Lake’s Jeff Cassar, FC Dallas’ Oscar Pareja and Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes.

Here is a closer look at the Mid-Season Coach of the Year finalists, as well as your chance to vote for the award:



With big money signing Eddie Johnson yet to find his rhythm in D.C., Olsen has built the team around one of the league’s strongest defenses and could be on his way to leading the club to one of the biggest turnarounds in league history.


Real Salt Lake haven’t missed a beat after the departure of former head coach Jason Kreis. Cassar has made the transition a successful one by living up to RSL’s standards of excellence.


Pareja’s transition to FC Dallas has been seamless. After joining the club in January, Pareja and FC Dallas are in contention to make the team’s first playoff appearance since 2011.


Despite the absences of cornerstones Graham Zusi and Matt Besler during the World Cup, Vermes and Sporting KC have avoided the post-MLS Cup hangover. The reigning champions sit top of the Eastern Conference and are in contention for the club’s first Supporters’ Shield since 2000.


The former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder has hit the ground running with his first head coaching gig. The Colorado Rapids currently find themselves in contention for a playoff spot among the Western Conference’s elite.


Now it’s your turn to cast your vote for MLS Mid-Season MVP:

  • Ben Olsen
  • Peter Vermes
  • Jeff Cassar
  • Oscar Pareja
  • Pablo Mastroeni
  • Sigi Schmid
  • Carl Robinson
  • Ryan Nelsen

Who did you vote for? Who do you think should have made the ballot that didn’t?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. SKC’s ability to remain the class in the east with all the injuries, call-ups and general distractions that go with being defending champs has been remarkable. It is a testament to the depth and system Peter Vermes has built. Just look at the changes in just the back line. RB: Chance Myers out for the year, CB: Both Collin (injuries) and Besler (WC) have missed large blocks of time and top back-up Ike Opara was lost for the year in the first month of the season. Until a month ago they had been cobbling together a back line with 17-year olds, back-up LBs and defensive mids. GK Jimmy Nielson retires and his back-up Kronberg has been out for the last month with broken hand. LB has been stable wtih Sinovic, but even he has missed games here and there with hamstring issues. BTW, still leading MLS in goals allowed/game.
    Couple that with loss on Zusi (WC), trading Uri Rossel and having your only DP (until a couple of weeks ago) contribute nothing. The job Vermes has done is nothing short of amazing.

  2. l have to credit the DCU front office for firstly, sticking with Ben Olson and then going out a getting players for him to coach. I think it would have been very easy to fire him.

    The only reason I’ve been a fan of the team thru the years is Mr. Olson’s connection. The decision to keep him around after last season goes a long way towards making me a fan of the organization itself – not that they really care.


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