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Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 12/11/2010

D.C. United interested in Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad for an assistant coaching position

By Steve Goff

Pat Onstad, a two-time MLS goalkeeper of the year, is unlikely to return to the Houston Dynamo and, according to sources, has been approached by D.C. United about joining its coaching staff to oversee the keeper corps.

Tim Mulqueen, the goalies coach for U.S. youth national teams and the early front-runner for the United opening, apparently withdrew from consideration because of relocation issues.

Ben Olsen, United's new coach, is in the process of hiring two assistants. Chad Ashton, the former technical director who helped Olsen during his interim stint late this season, is set to return, but Mark Simpson, the club's longtime keepers coach, is pursuing other opportunities and Kris Kelderman seems likely to be reassigned.

One source, unaffiliated with the club, said he believed Onstad's hiring was imminent. Should it occur, the move would end one of the most decorated goalkeeping careers in MLS history.

Onstad didn't immediately reply to messages via Houston's communications office. Olsen is believed to be scouting abroad. Said a United spokesman: "The team does not comment on players or personnel not under contract."

Onstad -- who at 42 is the oldest player in league history -- has been weighing retirement after the Dynamo declined to exercise the option on his contract and exposed him to both the expansion and re-entry drafts. He was not selected by newcomers Portland or Vancouver, his hometown team, and was passed over in the first stage of the inaugural re-entry draft (only two players were claimed). The second part is Wednesday. His salary ($172,000 in 2010) was sixth highest among goalies in the league.

"Pat is unlikely to return to the Dynamo roster in 2011," a Houston spokesman said, "but we are not in a position to comment or speculate on his future plans."

For much more.....

Onstad has spent all eight years in MLS with the same organization: From 2003 to '05, he was with the San Jose Earthquakes, who then moved to Houston.

On a statistical basis, Onstad is one of the league's best. He is third in career goals-against average at 1.12 and eighth in regular season appearances (220) and shutouts (64). He was named MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2003 and '05, and won MLS Cup titles in 2003, '06 and '07. A native of Canada who made 56 national team appearances over 20 years, he is also a U.S. citizen and holds an "A" coaching license from the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Last month, he told The (Vancouver) Province: "I think I have a couple of years left in me, I'd still like to play. But, all things considered, if I had an opportunity to coach, I'd be comfortable retiring."

By Steve Goff  | December 11, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  D.C. United, MLS  
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Comments

Onstad, even at his age, would be an upgrade to anyone now on the active roster at the GK position. I realize the salary cap implications, but perhaps he would be willing to accept a player-coach position.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | December 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Approximately 99 days until United's first 2011 league match!

Double digits!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 11, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Hamid would benefit greatly from Onstad's experience.

Posted by: Curious99 | December 11, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

player-coach

Posted by: OWNTF | December 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

With Onstad, we get a double, since Hamid might not be ready to start the season. Onstad might accept a short-term back-up deal, in addition to coaching.

Posted by: fischy | December 11, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say I like this potential move. Onstad would be a great mentor for Hamid, as I agree with the possibilities noted by Fischy.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 11, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Tim Mulqueen see the housing costs in the D.C. area and said "no thanks?"

I like the move of bringing in Pat Onstad either as an early season back-up/coach or just as a coach -- either way works for me.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | December 11, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Jaime should be an assistant. And/or involved with the Academy.

Posted by: Pedalada | December 11, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

1. I don't know if Onstad would be a great coach or a poor one. Certainly he'd know the league well and would offer a lot of insight to Hamid. Also, this really shows some bold thinking by Olsen--first saying "I really want McCarty" before the expansion draft was held, then thinking of Onstad as an assistant.

2. Onstad as a player-coach is probably more complicated than it seems. For instance, what if another team--just to try and get a draft pick from us--picks him in the 2nd round coming up--especially if they weren't intending to pick someone? We can sign him as a coach right away but as a player it's a bit trickier. Besides, while I admire Onstad's game, when Troy was in-form (think "Europe" and "NT") I'd pick him over Onstad now.

3. In terms of Mulqueen and relocation issues, look folks, most soccer assistants have spouses who work fulltime (and sometimes make more money than their spouse the assistant or trainer). That was a big reason why Richard Mulrooney couldn't play in Toronto--his wife couldn't get licensed there to practice.

4. I love Jaime and respect everything he's done for DCU. But why do we think he'd be a good assistant? I really resist the idea that just b/c someone is a good player makes them a good coach. Actually, I'm very worried that Jaime would be a terrible coach (at least right now). He's still intent on playing in MLS which suggests his pride/ego is overwhelming his objectivity. I want him to be associated with DCU and maybe he'll prove to be a good assistant. But don't assume someone who could play the game can therefore coach it.

5. One more assistant to hire. I hope this person is someone with coaching experience. Someone who can offer advice to Benny on stuff like "with 3 games in 7 days, here's how we ought to juggle the playing time" or have a lot of tactical and team management expertise. In short, I hope it isn't another recently retired player. But we need someone who has strengths to Benny's weaknesses, who can whisper in his ear on the sidelines and compensate for the areas Olsen still needs to grow in.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 11, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

With reference to Onstad, I think the best path would be to wait until next week's second round of the reentry draft. Apparently Onstad still wants to play, and a team that passed on him in round one might make a lower offer in round two which Pat might find sufficiently attractive to postpone going into the coaching ranks. But kudos to DCU for approaching him, and I hope the offer is made and he accepts. Besides his experience, an "A" license is not to be dismissed lightly. This could be the beginning of a very good coaching career.

Posted by: b18bolo | December 11, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

With reference to Onstad, I think the best path would be to wait until next week's second round of the reentry draft. Apparently Onstad still wants to play, and a team that passed on him in round one might make a lower offer in round two which Pat might find sufficiently attractive to postpone going into the coaching ranks. But kudos to DCU for approaching him, and I hope the offer is made and he accepts. Besides his experience, an "A" license is not to be dismissed lightly. This could be the beginning of a very good coaching career.

Posted by: b18bolo | December 11, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I think onstad would be a good GK coach. He has a great background, and I like that he has an "A" license, although I know "A" licenesed coaches that can't tie their shoes, but it shows that he has an interest in coaching and learning the trade.

Posted by: jjfooty | December 11, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"Pat is unlikely to return to the Dynamo roster in 2011," a Houston spokesman said, "but we are not in a position to comment or speculate on his future plans."

But, I think you just did speculate and comment.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | December 12, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

OT: There may be some hope for Qatar after all:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/12/09/qatar.mathaf.art/index.html

Posted by: universityandpark | December 12, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Holden golazo 88 min winner for Notlob!

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh Stuey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind! Hey Stuey! Hey! Hey! Hey Stuey!

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 12, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

But will he beat out Spector for a spot in our midfield?

Posted by: BooThisMan | December 12, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

If we're taking celebration skills into account, the answer is a definite yes.

Posted by: BooThisMan | December 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow, superb shot. That alone makes up for the awful Villarreal-Getafe game I watched yesterday

Posted by: carmines757 | December 12, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Approximately 98 days until United's first 2011 league match!


Holden's goal is beautiful. Take the time to watch it -- very worthwhile.

Posted by: Curious99 | December 12, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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