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Posted at 3:36 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

D.C. United Olsen's Army campaign hits Metro

By Dan Steinberg

(Courtesy D.C. United)


During a recent conference call, D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen was asked about some of the Olsen's Army chatter that has cropped up on the Internet this preseason.

"Well, first off, that Olsen's Army thing wasn't my idea," Olsen responded. "Let's get that straight right now. I blame that on our marketing department."

Well, there's gonna be plenty of blame to go around. The club began an intense WMATA marketing campaign this week, starting with ads in more than a dozen Metro stations (including Rosslyn and Columbia Heights), and eventually spreading to bus shelters and Metro buses. Its the first major outdoor campaign the club has done in several years, and it's meant to help reconnect the community to a young roster with lots of potential but few household names.

The ads ask Metro riders to join Olsen's Army, and also hand out special nicknames to many of its young stars. To wit, Olsen -- still the club's most marketable face -- is The General. Andy Najar is The Phenom. Branko Boskovic is The Architect. Chris Pontius is The Workhorse. Dax McCarty is The Engine. Santino Quaranta is The Veteran. Quaranta, I might note, is all of 26 years old.

Apparently there's some dispute about whether the proper phrase should be "Olsen's Army" or "Benny's Army," but I'll let the fans and marketing people hash that out. I think the double vowel makes "Olsen's Army" preferable, personally, but I'm also not the one singing.

Also, there is a whiff of the Redskins in this campaign. The Skins, of course, also launched a major Metro-based ad campaign in 2010, and the original copy handed out similar titles, with Bruce Allen being "The Architect" and Mike Shanahan "The Leader." Maybe this will work better.

The Olsen question referenced above, by the way, also asked him about building a roster in his own image.

"You know, I'm not gonna let anybody come to this team that I don't feel comfortable with," Olsen said. "You know, I select the guys for this team. It's that simple....At the end of the day it's gonna be on my watch and it's my responsibility to bring the right players in here."

Nice quote, though I think he should have said "I select the guys for Olsen's Army."




By Dan Steinberg  | February 8, 2011; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Soccer. You'll never be more excited watching something almost happen.

Posted by: freakzilla | February 8, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

the olsen's army thing was weird we begin singing benny's army but word come from somewhere to the elders to go to olsen's army, whatever we are normally so drunk in the stand we would sing steinberg's army if someone started it

barra

Posted by: bearcox13 | February 8, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's better than "We Win Trophies" and "It Takes More"!

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 8, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

Please tell me that "workhourse" is a typo on your part.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | February 8, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Far better than "It Takes More." It take more...talent.

American Football: You'll never be more excited watching commercials.

Posted by: Aerowaz | February 8, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

When we sing it it's usually "Benny's Army" because it scans better with the song and rhythm - singing "We're all part of Olsen's Army" quickly is more tongue-twisting than singing "We're all part of Benny's Army." It's the interaction between "of" and "Olsen" that causes the issue, not between "Olsen" and "Army."

Olsen's Army works fine for the written/spoken marketing campaign but it'll be harder to sing in the stands.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | February 8, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@freakzilla - Tired cliches about soccer. You'll never be more excited waiting for an original thought.

Posted by: the_slammer | February 8, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@freakzilla - sorry we don't have field goals and punts for you, so it almost seems as if something might happen after the next commercial - but at least we can play an hour-and-a-half game in two hours without stopping every 8 seconds to re-group ... and show another commercial.

I'm part of Benny's Army - you guys that follow old Full House reruns can be part of (the) Olsen's Army :-D

Posted by: dcufan | February 8, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

When did that Dr. House guy start coaching United?

Posted by: kingbonehead | February 8, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Cool! We get to have the soccer vs. football debate again! Yeah!


Sigh.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | February 8, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Santino Quaranta is The Veteran. Quaranta, I might note, is all of 26 years old."

and at 26, he has played in MLS for a decade, making him the most senior player on the roster outside of newly acquired forward Josh Wolff, who is 34 and spent a few seasons in Europe.

Posted by: VTUnited | February 8, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently there's some dispute about whether the proper phrase should be "Olsen's Army" or "Benny's Army," but I'll let the fans and marketing people hash that out. I think the double vowel makes "Olsen's Army" preferable, personally, but I'm also not the one singing."

Oh Dan, how can you forget? A, E, I, O, U and *sometimes Y*. "Benny's Army" *does* have a double vowel.

Posted by: EdTheRed | February 8, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

What's with people like freakzilla who feel the need to bash a sport just because they're not into it?

I don't like that UFC/MMA stuff but in a million years I'd never feel the need to comment on an article about it to make sure everyone knows where I stand. Very odd.

Maybe it's that some fans of old school American sports feel threatened because soccer is growing here (and they clearly don't understand the game) mixed with good old xenophobia. (It's not "American" so it can't be good. In fact, it's probably downright subversive.)

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 8, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, just take the compliment. People are jaded enough as it, yet soccer can get them standing and cheering even though nothing actually happened. It's pretty amazing!

Posted by: freakzilla | February 8, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, just take the compliment. People are jaded enough as it, yet soccer can get them standing and cheering even though nothing actually happened. It's pretty amazing!

Posted by: freakzilla
--------------------------------------------

Thanks, freakzilla, but I'm pretty sure that 99% of soccer fans would have trouble finding a compliment in your first post.

Or your second, for that matter.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 8, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

When did that Dr. House guy start coaching United?

Posted by: kingbonehead | February 8, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse
--

That's just the kind of insane genius he is. Olsen has been performing medical miracles by day, playing soccer by night.

Posted by: stancollins | February 8, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

You guys are kidding right? He said "you'll never be more excited," it's not that hard to find a compliment in that. I, for one, and apparently the only one, thought it was clever.

Geez, little soccer inferiority complex?

Posted by: dwelkinor | February 8, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Skins only fans are just jealous because United has something they don't -- a stadium in the city (albeit, that's not a long term thing).

I know I'd rather take the metro to RFK and walk three-ish blocks to watch "something almost happen" in a crumbling relic of a stadium than take ten hours out of my Sunday to watch a certain "something" happen: another Skins loss.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 9, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Can we get one of Charlie Davies called 'The Phoenix'?

Posted by: RiverOtis | February 9, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"Santino Quaranta is The Veteran. Quaranta, I might note, is all of 26 years old."

and at 26, he has played in MLS for a decade, making him the most senior player on the roster outside of newly acquired forward Josh Wolff, who is 34 and spent a few seasons in Europe.

Posted by: VTUnited | February 8, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

------------

Plus Tino has enough backstory to fill two or three Justin Bieber memoirs (the Bieb is now the official yardstick for all things in our modern age).

Posted by: M__N | February 9, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Nicknames? Ugh. Najar and Quaranta are the only ones with fitting nicknames - although they're more descriptions than nicknames. This reminds me of the ESPN marketing campaign that forces nicknames on players like John "The Juggler" Harkes and Jason "The Demolisher" Kreis.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 9, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty surer it was Olsen's army instead of Benny's army as a sign of respect for him as a coach.

Posted by: sitruc | February 9, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

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