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A Few Minutes With Ben Olsen

Even when he's sidelined with an injury (hamstring), D.C. United's veteran midfielder is one of the league's most insightful and entertaining characters:

"I didn't train again today, but hopefully I will give it a test tomorrow. It's nagging, as hammies do. I was a little bit in denial that I had a real hamstring pull, but I definitely tweaked it a little bit. It's the right [hamstring], so you know I am screwed there [since he also has the perpetual left ankle problem]. Left ankle, right hammy. They say everything goes diagonal for your injuries. My neck hurts back here ... and here, here, here," he said as he pointed to various spots on his body.

Chances of traveling this weekend to Chivas USA.....

"I'm not sure. I haven't had that conversation with the coach."

Much more on the continuation of this thread.....

Thoughts about Saturday's tie with Toronto.....

"At some point, squeeking out ties isn't going to be good enough. We have to make sure we are not chasing the game and trying to get these last-minute goals. We are better team than that. We are a better team than Toronto; we showed that. But we just fouled up a couple plays and hopefully we will learn. The important thing is that we learn from the stuff we do wrong -- can we fix those things? They are not lessons unless you learn from them. We can't be in these situations where we dominate and then lose concentration for a minute here and a minute there and then all of a sudden we are tying at home."

Do you see a quality in this team to come back late in matches?

"Absolutely. It's a good quality to have, but again, I think we are good enough where we don't need to have that quality every game. We shouldn't have to gut out all these ties."

What do you make of the young guys?

"We have not had young talent here for a long time, and that's not to be disrespectful for the guys the last couple years, but this is how it should be: We should have good young guys every year coming in and making impacts on the team. I know the roster size has something to do with that, but this is how a team should be: When people go down, you have guys who are capable of doing their job."

On the battle for playing time on what the coaches believe is a deep team.....

"People are starting to buy into it. The team concept has been emphasized a lot by Tommy, both because he knows he has guys that are going to be sitting that aren't usually sitting, to keep their head in it. At the end of your career, it's the championships you remember, it's the team stuff you are going to remember, and for that to happen, we all have to buy into a team concept and entrust in Tommy that he knows what he is doing and that he has the best interests of the team. It's working. People realize we have a lot of games again and, if you are going to sit here or there, use it as a rest day, use it as getting your body ready for when you do get your chance to come in. It's not easy."

At one point did you realize the young players were going to have an impact?

"They showed what they had pretty early. There are guys that can play practice and look good, fit in on a practice team and don't look out of place. And there are guys that come into a game and continue to do that. These guys seem to be those type of guys, where they come into games, they relish the opportunity, they seem to like the spotlight and it's nice to have them because you need guys who are young and have energy and want to prove something and have a great career."

By Steve Goff  |  May 12, 2009; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Women's Friendlies Cancelled


Olsen for player/coach!

Posted by: forpat | May 12, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone assume that Ben is ready to be a great coach? I just coached my first game -- 10-yr. olds. I might add that everyone was impressed by the big step-up the kids took this weekend. Still, I'm pretty sure I've got a lot to learn about coaching before I'm ready to lead an MLS side. If Benny wants to coach, let him have the chance to grow into the job.

Posted by: fischy | May 12, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff from Benny. We are definitely a better team with him on the field. With all the press Benny is getting lately, he was on Fox Fone In 2 weeks ago and he has recently been on Wash Post Live he is becoming the "DC United Sage".

Posted by: sbg1 | May 12, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I've been more critical of Benny than anyone, but if he's on the field late last Saturday, FCT doesn't get that third goal. Too many bozo MFs daydreaming while Wynne and DeRo blow past them. 30 seconds of stupidity cost DCU 2 crucial standings points. BO would arm tackle them if he had to.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Fischy: do you have your class A badge yet?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 12, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@Godfather -

You said it man. Benny eats someone alive before they get to run half the field and blast a shot. Just a little soft after an emotional goal.

Hopefully some of these strong performances soon add up to 3 points rather than 1.

Posted by: cjholden15 | May 12, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Attaway fischy . . . this one's for you

"As the wolf pack closes in, the Mosquito lies in wait.

Shifting ever so slightly on the balls of her feet, she bides her time, measuring the ground between them -- her ground. Closer, closer. The wolves are cocky. She has seen their kind many times before, all boiling with bravado, jacked up on Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs and Gatorade until their eyeballs are jiggling in their sockets.

"Look, a girl!" they jeered before the game. "They got a girl! We're gonna kill 'em! Yeah!""

rest of story . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | May 12, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like DC finally has a chance to sign multiple academy players:

-Teams can sign two players to GA deals
-They can sign four a year and
-Teams can't poach other team's academies

Not a reserve league, but definitely progress.

Posted by: Josh8 | May 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on the coaching gig fischy...;-)

Olsen rocks. I do actually hope he eases into the coaching, it already seems like he's unofficially working in that capacity.

Hey Steve did Ben have much to say about the CBA meetings that are imminent? Is MLS claiming poverty to the Union or what?

Posted by: DadRyan | May 12, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Heck, Jason Kreis was given the job...

Posted by: Reignking | May 12, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I echo Ben's sentiment that it's great to finally see, not only just for DC United, but for all of MLS, a class of rookies that is really making a name in the league. Pushing guys for time is never a bad thing and should inherently make everyone work harder.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | May 12, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

ben will be a good coach because he is a hard worker, understands people, has a magnetic personality, knows the domestic and international games, and has successfully dealt with adversity. whether he will be a great coach is tbd. how 'bout rodney wallace and that pontius kid? i wonder if dcu will be able to keep them around for a while.

Posted by: getanewnumber10 | May 12, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I was actually kinda being facetious, although I think he would make a great coach. Someday.

Posted by: forpat | May 12, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Ben has the chance to be a very good coach, since, as mentioned, he understand the game, has the work ethic, leadership and the experience. the one thing not yet mentioned is that he has the respect of other players for all that.

flashy players rarely become good coaches, in any sport. those with grit, passion and understanding have a much better shot. I think he can be part of the first real generation of first division professional US players to move into management. Players with international experience, experience in a foreign league and in MLS. this is only a good thing for the league and US Soccer as a whole.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 12, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

What exactly changed, Josh8?

Posted by: sitruc | May 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'm glad that Benny is back. I honestly don't understand why Simms is considered such a good player when Benny has better control of midfield, making plays when he needs to, taking out opponents with guile and skill and handing out the occasional can of whup-a$$.

Oh, and scoring goals when we need it most.

Posted by: kinseyjames | May 12, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What exactly changed, Josh8?

Posted by: sitruc | May 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Well the article states that previously teams could only sign one GA kid, the new rules allow them to sign two.

Another major sticking point was that teams could only take one kid a year, and that would leave everyone else unprotected. The other two rules are an attempt to fix it, allowing four kids a year and protecting anyone else.

Posted by: Josh8 | May 12, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link OWNTF. That article had my adrenaline flowing and reminds me to move Soccerheads up my reading list. It's been on the shelf for at least a year now.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 12, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

To 'FISCHY', you're patting yourself on the back for coaching U-10s; Oh..My..God! I hope you get named 'Coach of the Year' in your little pee-wee league, LOL!

Posted by: YNOT1970 | May 12, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I was making a point about Olsen needing some assistant coaching experience before we can hand over the reins to him...not patting myself on the back. However, it was kinda cool to direct the kids and watch their understanding of what to do actually grow during the game. Mostly. If anyone has tips on how to get the attackers to spread out a little, I'm all ears.

Posted by: fischy | May 12, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

You were patting yourself on the back, otherwise, you would not have mentioned what you did. Furthermore, there is absoluely no relation between you coaching U-10 & people's opinion on whether or not Ben Olsen would make a good pro head coach! Also, there has been numerous coaches who have & have not succeeded at the pro level without having any coaching experience & there are coaches with a pedegree of experience who are mediocre & who are good, therefore, your opinion that Ben Olsen would need to become an assistant first does not carry any weight.

Posted by: YNOT1970 | May 12, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to fischy and all youth coaches who take on a job that is 90% child psychology and 10% sports.

YNOT1970: I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of time around children - or Strunk & White.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 12, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Whoever is down on Olsen needs some happy pills, stat. Criticizing Olsen's play, his fire, even his press talks must think Rushmore is too small.

And saying he won't be a great coach? Hell, I think most of us want to give him a try. He's already the unofficial team mascot, spiritual leader, and designated wolf man. And he's intelligent and tactical! I'm sorry, but he would destroy the other 10 year old teams. And I think United would do well to keep him on.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 12, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow, props for the well deserved "Elements of Style" reference.

Posted by: vivzig | May 12, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

That probably should be "well-deserved."

Posted by: vivzig | May 12, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Olson has good qualities that will enable him to succeed at coaching or, I suspect, anything else he chooses to do.

I-270Exit1, you left out the hardest 50%: parent management.

Posted by: Curious99 | May 12, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

To 'I-270Exit1', I wasn't writing to you, therefore, mind your own f____g business!!For your information, I coached youth soccer & youth basketball (ages 5-8) & I never patted myself on the back. Furthermore, I never compared myself to a possible future pro coach just becuase I coached little pee-wees!!

Posted by: YNOT1970 | May 13, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for those kids.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 13, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

You're a chump; go back to being a couch potatoe sports fan! I'm not going back to this particular post, therefore, if you write back again, I won't even read it; I WIN!

Posted by: YNOT1970 | May 13, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ynot - You sound like you're in the wrong 50% Curious referred to.

I-270 - Quality counter, my friend.

Fischy - Congrats on being there for the kids.

Posted by: Throwin64 | May 13, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

You're a chump; go back to being a couch potatoe sports fan! I'm not going back to this particular post, therefore, if you write back again, I won't even read it; I WIN!

Posted by: YNOT1970 | May 13, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse
Hmmm, runinng away? Yup, definately a winner in the France 1942/Richard Nixon resigntion vein. GEE WHIZ GOSH, I wish I was a winner JUST like you. Game, set and match to I-270.

Posted by: Throwin64 | May 13, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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