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Olsen Retirement Is Official

Ben Olsen, D.C. United's tenacious midfielder who was an integral part of two MLS Cup championships and overcame serious ankle injuries to resurrect his career and become perhaps the most popular player in club history, announced his retirement Tuesday at RFK Stadium.

Olsen, 32, is likely to remain with the club as an assistant coach once a head coaching position is filled in the coming weeks.

"He has defined what United is all about, and he has set a high bar for professional soccer players in the United States," General Manager Dave Kasper said. "In his 12 years at D.C. United, he brought us heart, character, personality, intelligence and championships."

Olsen, a native of Middletown, Pa., who starred at the University of Virginia for three years before signing with MLS, is second in United's history in games played and starts, third in assists and seventh in goals.

He was the 1998 MLS rookie of the year, MVP of the 1999 MLS Cup, a two-time all-star, a member of the Best XI in 2007 and the league's humanitarian of the year in 2003. Beyond United, Olsen was on the 2000 Olympic and 2006 World Cup squads.

More to come ...

By Steve Goff  |  November 24, 2009; 2:47 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Olsen and DCU

Comments

Coach Benny, welcome back.

Posted by: the_slammer | November 24, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Good to know he will still be around.

Posted by: sitruc | November 24, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Never seen a caveman cry.

Bet that changes soon.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 24, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Dude, I'm shedding tears! His little jab at New York was CLASSIC!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 24, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Benny Olsen!! clap,clap..clap,clap,clap... Benny Olsen!! clap,clap..clap,clap,clap...
Benny Olsen!! clap,clap..clap,clap,clap...
Benny Olsen!! clap,clap..clap,clap,clap...
Benny Olsen!! clap,clap..clap,clap,clap...
Heart of a Lion! Heart of DC United!!!!

Posted by: boda-united | November 24, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Benny Olsen is an awesome dude and it's too bad he won't be on the field to raise hell anymore.

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | November 24, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Nice absentee Mayor BS... Fenty is such a knob.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 24, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for those GREAT years you gave us on the field. Easily, the heart and soul of this team. Retire #14 and make sure he is, indeed, on the coaching staff for 2010.

Posted by: stwasm | November 24, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ruby!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 24, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

He'll be missed on the pitch. Certainly my favorite DCU player ever.

Posted by: TestudoTheFearsome | November 24, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"He was the 1998 MLS rookie of the year, MVP of the 1999 MLS Cup, a two-time all-star, a member of the Best XI in 2007 and the league's humanitarian of the year in 2003. Beyond United, Olsen was on the 2000 Olympic and 2006 World Cup squads."
=========================

This reminds me of a column I wrote when Ben announced he was leaving UVA for MLS. I wrote that he was making a mistake because the league was too young, that he needed to finish his degree on schedule and that if the league was on good footing, it would be there a year later.

Oops.

Congratulations on a tremendous playing career, Ben. I look forward to watching you positively influence future American players.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 24, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 24, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Probably a year late in doing this but what a great career he had although it was cut short. A smallish player with limited physical tools but made up for everything with tons of heart and passion. He is obviously a role model for younger players who may be lacking in some areas but love the game and are willing to give everything...well done Benny.

Posted by: euroman | November 24, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Wizard's owner, Abe Pollen died today.

Posted by: sitruc | November 24, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

What a sad, and yet awesome, event. Sounds like he made the right decision, and I am thrilled we get to keep him.

And, oddly, am also intrigued by the idea of Beckham owning an MLS team. Always interesting to see what a player will make of their post-career opportunities.

Posted by: ldmay | November 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Favorite quote (#1): "Jaime isn't on this list. He gets his own list."

Posted by: ldmay | November 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It's sad to see Benny go as a player, but as an assistant coach he'll still get to transmit that endless energy and will to win. Things like that can't be taught, but they can rub off to a certain extent. Plus, with the young talents we have, Olsen is a spectacular example of how to conduct yourself in the right way. We certainly can't replace Olsen as a player or as a man, but we can hope that the remaining players can collectively cover over that absence.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 24, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Expected, but sad, news about Olsen.

Unfortunately the unexpected sad news about Abe Pollin will probably dim any recognition Benny might have received at tonight's Wizards game.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/24/AR2009112402796.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 24, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Don’t the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

Posted by: spidergoose | November 24, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Terrible news about Abe Pollin. A true giant within the Washington sports scene and a tremendous humanitarian as well. RIP Abe!

Posted by: croftonpost | November 24, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I like to see Olsen as Head Coach!!! Que Viva Olsen!!! He has brought so much to the game we love. He is what Raul is to Real Madrid.

Posted by: RM27 | November 24, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse


My thoughts about Olsen? He will be missed on the pitch. He was my favorite (and everyone else's, too) -- A consummate professional, who also exhibited a real passion for the game. Kinda sorry he went out on a red card for kicking the ball at an opponent who had just bowled over Benny. On the other hand, it was kinda fitting, because Olsen always played as if it was personal.

Let's hope he can use his new role to instill that intensity and professionalism in future DCU teams.

Posted by: fischy | November 24, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

You know I missed that whole red card thing as I was in Hawaii when that happened. Any chance anyone has a handy video link? Is it in the highlight reel?

Posted by: DadRyan | November 24, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

123 days until Olsen's first match as an United assistant coach!

Posted by: Curious99 | November 24, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

In news that seems less newsworthy, if it even matters at all, Eddie Johnson scored for Fulham's reserves today. Touched in a shot off a Hannehman rebound.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 24, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

here you go DadRyan:
http://web.mlsnet.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6988713

It does seem a fitting end - and Cuesta should have received a second yellow for simulation.

Posted by: VTUnited | November 24, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The player who got the absolute most out of his body is Benny Olsen. He played every game as if his life depended on it. He's what sports heroes need to be like.

Posted by: bdwooton | November 24, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Uhh. Glad I missed that. Thanks for digging it up though!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 24, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Posh FC?
Posted by: joedoc1
===============

I didn't know that pouts could be part of the kit. They could be sponsored by the lemon growers of America.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 24, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The press conference was blocked at my work, so I saw the rebroadcast. I guess it was in response to Steve's question that Ben said something like "You find out about things before I do."

When Ben mentioned that, for a time, he couldn't walk down the stairs while carrying his daughter, I understood his need to retire. One can't risk that becoming permanent.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 24, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

This is probably the first time he's ever put himself before the team, but it was time to do it. I'm glad to see him go. This is something he needed to do for his own health both now and down the road.

I don't think there's any doubt #14 will be on the wall next year along with the other greats of United. Well earned and on to the next adventure.

Vamos Ben Olsen
Vamos United

Posted by: SoccerVA | November 24, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

SoccerVA, the rules United has established for the Wall of Tradition require that a player be retired for two years before he can go on the wall.

Just trying to get this out there before people start grousing about it. :)

Posted by: spidergoose | November 25, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Well, until #14 is formally on the Wall of Tradition, the Heart of a Lion tifo should hang there as a place holder.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 25, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Here, here!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 25, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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