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Ben Olsen
Ben Olsen
Personal information
Full name Benjamin Robert Olsen
Date of birth May 3, 1977 (1977-05-03) (age 32)
Place of birth    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1994–1997 Virginia Cavaliers
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
D.C. United
Nottingham Forest (loan)
221 (29)
18 (2)   
National team
1998–2007 United States 37 (6)
Teams managed
2010– D.C. United (assistant)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Benjamin Robert "Ben" Olsen (born May 3, 1977 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) is a former American professional soccer player who is currently an assistant coach with D.C. United.

Olsen spent the majority of his professional career in the United States with D.C. United in Major League Soccer, which he joined straight out of college. Over the course of 12 seasons with DC, Olsen made over 200 appearances, winning two MLS Cup titles, two MLS Supporters' Shields and one U.S. Open Cup winners medal.

Olsen also amassed 37 caps with the United States men's national soccer team, winning the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and representing the United States at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Olsen announced his retirement from professional competition on November 20, 2009[1].



Youth and College

Olsen attended Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary School and Middletown Area High School in Middletown, Pennsylvania, where he was named Parade magazine's National High School Player of the Year in 1993. Olsen played three years of college soccer at the University of Virginia, where he finished his career with 34 goals and 41 assists, and was named the Soccer America Magazine Collegiate Player of the Year in in his junior season in 1997,


Olsen entered the league as a Project-40 player, and was allocated to D.C. United on December 27, 1997, shortly after finishing his junior season at UVA. Olsen immediately excelled as a right midfielder at D.C., earning a starting spot and finishing the 1998 season with 4 goals and 8 assists, and was named the MLS Rookie of the Year Award for his accomplishment. Olsen did even better his second year, registering 5 goals and 11 assists over 26 games, while helping D.C. United win their third MLS Cup, where he was named the MLS Cup MVP. Olsen's third season began well, but a collision with Chicago Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton caused an ankle injury that kept Ben out of much of the second half of the season, limiting him to 13 starts and only 1 goal and 3 assists on the year.

Having recovered from the ankle injury, Olsen was loaned by D.C. to Nottingham Forest of the English First Division, where he immediately impressed and soon became a fan favorite. Just as it looked likely that Forest would tender MLS an offer for the midfielder, Olsen suffered another, even worse, ankle injury, that immediately scuttled any hopes of him making a move overseas. Olsen would miss all of the 2001 season while rehabilitating his injuries, and would eventually make a return in the middle of the 2002 season, having missed over 18 months due to injuries; although rusty, Olsen's talent shone through, and he finished the season with 7 starts and 10 games played.

Olsen completed his comeback in 2003, as he started 26 games for the team, scoring 4 goals and 7 assists. Although the ankle injuries had robbed him of much of the speed that made him an effective wide midfielder, Olsen's intelligence made it possible for him to adapt to a central position. It is here that Olsen spent his time in 2004 as well, starting 25 games for United, scoring 3 goals and 4 assists. He scored 2 goals and 4 assists in 2005.

D.C. United needed Olsen back at wide midfielder for the 2007 season, and he responded well. He served as Captain when Jaime Moreno was away on national team duty, scored his first career hat trick in a 4-2 win over Red Bull New York on June 10,[2] and enjoyed his best season in MLS. He ended the year with seven goals and seven assists and was named to the MLS Best XI team. Ankle problems again sidelined Olsen for the beginning of the 2008 MLS season, and there was speculation that his career was in jeopardy.[3] Despite said problems, Ben Olsen was able to make one MLS appearance against the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 28, 2008. He was greeted by the crowd with the loudest ovation of the day and several large banners extolling Ben Olsen's "Heart Of A Lion" for D.C. United.[4]

Olsen was able to continue his career during the 2009 season in a defensive midfield role, scoring the tying goal in stoppage time of a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution.[5]

Olsen announced his retirement from professional competition on October 20, 2009[1].


Olsen at one time seemed like the right midfielder of the future for the US national team, as he received his first cap soon after his Rookie of the Year season, on November 6, 1998 against Australia, and he was a significant player for the team in the 1999 season. However, the injuries that kept him out of club play also seriously damaged his aspirations for the national team.

After moving to a controlling midfield position, Olsen was one of the selections on Bruce Arena's 2006 US World Cup roster, having scored goals in the US team's early 2006 win over Guatemala and in an April draw with Jamaica. To date Olsen has earned 35 caps, scoring 6 goals for the USA. Olsen made his World Cup debut against Ghana in a 2-1 loss, replacing an injured Claudio Reyna.


Shortly after his retirement from playing, Olsen was announced as an assistant coach for D.C. United under Curt Onalfo on January 5, 2010.


Olsen is a licensed minister, and presided over the nuptials of his then-teammate, Nick Rimando, in 2005. He is married to Megan Schoen, a teacher at Takoma Park Middle School. The two wed in Negril, Jamaica in December 2006. Their wedding was featured in Brides Magazine.

The couple would later feature in a popular TV commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods, in which Olsen enjoys an impromptu soccer skills exhibition with fellow MLS players Brian Ching, Duilio Davino and Christian Gómez, before he and Megan chase their screen son, "Dawson", out of the store when he has the temerity to ask for a David Beckham jersey.[6]


United States

D.C. United



External links

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