D.C. United executive may leave for Milan, while Italian coach likely to join Olsen’s staff

December 11, 2013
(D.C. United)
(D.C. United)
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Michael Williamson, the top-ranking executive in D.C. United’s front office, is close to joining Inter Milan, the Italian Serie A club owned by United chief investor Erick Thohir.

Multiple sources told the Insider that players and staff have been alerted to Williamson’s imminent departure. However, another person familiar with the situation cautioned a deal had not been finalized and questions remain whether Williamson would switch clubs.

Williamson was appointed United’s chief operating officer last year after serving as the chief financial officer since 2007. He inherited control of the front office when longtime president Kevin Payne was ousted. Williamson has overseen notable staff changes, most recently the dismissal of the chief marketing officer and community relations and communications directors.

He did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Jason Levien, United’s general partner who speaks on behalf of Thohir and investor Will Chang, said he did not want to discuss personnel matters at this time.

Meantime, United to close to hiring an assistant coach from Inter Milan’s organization to replace Josh Wolff on Ben Olsen‘s staff, a team source said. Wolff departed last month to join the Columbus Crew’s staff. The identity of the new candidate could not be ascertained at this time. Assistants Chad Ashton (seven years with United) and Preston Burpo (one year) are expected to remain with the club.

Olsen did not return messages for comment.

The two proposed moves signify tightening relations between Thohir’s operations in Washington and Milan. Last week the sides announced a strategic partnership in which the clubs would share “team, organizational and competitive best practices.”

Thohir, United’s primary benefactor since summer 2012, led a group this fall that purchased a 70 percent stake in Inter for an estimated $340 million.

United and Inter are likely to play one another in friendlies in the coming years.

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff | December 10, 2013