Ben Olsen out as D.C. United coach amid difficult season

Ben Olsen is out as head coach of D.C. United amid a disappointing season but the team said he will likely have a new role in the organization.

Olsen has led D.C. United for the past decade. But the team has won just two matches since it returned from the MLS is Back tournament in Florida and sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Assistant Chad Ashton will serve as interim coach, United said Thursday.

Olsen played for D.C. United from 1998 to 2009 and took over as head coach in 2010. The team went 113-137-84 during his tenure and made the playoffs in five of the last six years. United won the U.S. Open Cup in 2013.

Olsen was named MLS Coach of the Year in 2014.

“My overwhelming emotion right now is that I have been incredibly fortunate to be associated with this great club for 22 years. No one gets that opportunity in professional sports, and I am so much richer for all the amazing experiences and relationships along the way. I will always be grateful,” Olsen said in a statement released by the team. “It is now time for a change. It is the right move. The club needs a new face and this is the right time for the club and also for me personally to move in a different direction.”

The team said it would begin the search for a new coach immediately.

Jason Levien, co-chairman and CEO of D.C. United, said Olsen has represented the organization with “incredible class and distinction” over 22 years. “It is our sincere hope and belief that Ben will continue to have a big impact on the organization,” Levien said.

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