D.C. United has struggled for most of the 2020 MLS season and has made a coaching change in response to its disappointing run of matches.
The club announced Thursday that it has fired head coach Ben Olsen and assistant coach Chad Ashton will assume the role of Interim Manager. Despite the struggles for the club this season, D.C. United is aiming to keep Olsen involved with the team in a new role.
“Ben has been a fabric of the D.C. United organization for more than two decades, including his role as head coach for the last ten years, and we are forever grateful for his contributions and leadership,” D.C. United Co-Chairman and CEO Jason Levien said. “Over the course of his 22 years with the club, Ben has been a total professional and has represented this organization with incredible class and distinction. It is our sincere hope and belief that Ben will continue to have a big impact on the organization.”
Olsen spent 11 seasons as a player for D.C. United, helping the club win eight trophies including two MLS Cups (1999 and 2004). After retiring as a player, Olsen took over as head coach of the Black and Red in 2010 and has led the club to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, in addition to guiding the club to their third Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in 2013.
The club has failed to register any consistency in 2020, winning only two league matches out of a possible 16 so far. D.C. United currently sits last in the Eastern Conference with 11 points, seven points out of the final playoff spot. Its 28 goals is the second-most among East teams while its 12 goals scored is the third-fewest.
“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 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.”
D.C United will open a search for a new head coach with only seven league matches remaining. Wednesday’s 4-1 loss at NYCFC extended the Black and Red’s current winless run to seven matches and losing streak to four.
Up next for the club is a trip to the Chicago Fire on Oct. 11th. before a midweek home clash with the Philadelphia Union.