D.C. United rewards Olsen with multi-year extension

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Head coach Ben Olsen, who survived D.C. United's horrific 2013 campaign, the worst in MLS history, has been rewarded for its turnaround in 2014 with a multi-year contract extension. On a club that has produced four MLS championships in 19 seasons, Olsen is already the longest-serving head coach.

Ben Olsen Record:
2010: 3-8-1
2012: 17-10-7
2013: 3-24-7
2014: 14-9-6

After spending 12 years with the club as a player, Olsen retired following the 2009 season and became an assistant coach under Curt Onalfo in 2010.  With 12 games to play in the 2010 season, he was named interim coach.

At the time, Olsen was not expected to be named the head coach -- then-president Kevin Payne went so far to say right after the 2010 season he wouldn't be considered for the job -- but a month later he was handed the job at the age of 33, making him the youngest full-time head coach in the league.

“We are proud of the job that Ben has done leading the team, and we are excited about securing his future with D.C. United,” said D.C. United managing general partner Jason Levien. “Proving himself as a coach just as he did as a player, he has kept the group together through adversity, and he has the club poised for immediate and future success.”

Olsen played on two MLS championship teams and was named the 1998 MLS Rookie of the Year and 1999 MLS Cup MVP, and was selected to the MLS Best XI in 2007. He endured the same ups and downs as a player he has now gone through in his four-plus seasons as a head coach.

Following a 3-24-7 season in 2013, Olsen was kept on and United was rebuilt, mostly with castoffs from other MLS clubs. United won the 2013 Open Cup and is playing in the 2014-15 Concacaf Champions League.

“Close to half my life I've been a part of this proud club,” said Olsen. “D.C. United has become my family and my identity. It is where I belong and thankfully, with this extension, it is a place I'm going to be for several more years. My commitment to winning and having a team that our fans and community are proud of will continue to be my priority.”

Olsen, who is now 37, has a 46-64-33 in five seasons. The 143 matches he's coached are the most by any coach.

D.C. United Coaches, Most Games
143 Ben Olsen
96 Bruce Arena (1996-98)
94 Peter Nowak (2004-06)
90 Thomas Rongen (1999-2001)
90 Tom Soehn (2007-09)
58 Ray Hudson (2002-03)
18 Curt Onalfo (2010)
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