D.C. United turns to Belgium for new head coach

A lot of names familiar to American fans were bounced around as the successor to Ben Olsen as the D.C. United head coach.

Chris Armas, who ended up taking the Toronto FC job. Jill Ellis, who would have been the first woman to be an MLS head coach. Columbus Crew assistant Ezra Hendrickson, considered the top Black candidate for the job. Highly regarded Seattle Sounders assistant Gonzalo Pineda, who was considered the favorite.

In the end, D.C. United's choice was an unknown: Argentine Hernan Losada. At 38, he is the only MLS head coach under the age of 40.

Losada has been coaching Belgian club Beerschot for the last 16 months. It was promoted to the top-tier Pro League when it was expanded from 16 to 18 teams after the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing both teams in the second-tier promotion playoffs, Leuven and Beerschot, to go up. Beerschot is in 10th place after 21 games in the 2020-21 Pro League season.

“Our process to identify the right individual to lead our club has been extremely thorough and we’re confident that Hernan is the ideal person and coach to take us forward,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper. “We believe wholeheartedly in Hernan’s approach to the game and his desire to play high-energy soccer with and without the ball. We look forward to getting to work with Hernan to start the 2021 season.”

Losada, who speaks English, French and Dutch in addition to Spanish, spent most of the last 12 seasons of his playing career in Belgium, including three stints at different Beerschot clubs. He started as a coach for Beerschot's U-21s in 2018.
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