D.C. United will not consider interim coach Ben Olsen for full-time position

"I believe I can do this job and be successful," said Ben Olsen. " . . . But I understand the reasoning."
"I believe I can do this job and be successful," said Ben Olsen. " . . . But I understand the reasoning." (Jonathan Newton)
By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 25, 2010; 11:32 PM

D.C. United interim coach Ben Olsen will not be considered for the full-time position because of his inexperience, club president Kevin Payne said Monday.

"I don't think he is ready," Payne said. "It's been a great learning experience for Ben and I am sure he will learn a great deal over the next couple of years. I fully expect Ben will be our head coach someday."

Olsen, who retired as a player last winter and became an assistant coach, was asked to oversee the club after Curt Onalfo's dismissal in August. Initially reluctant to accept the position, Olsen grew more confident in the role and began expressing the desire to remain in charge.

Although Payne said from the outset that Olsen was too inexperienced to be considered beyond this year, Olsen said he had "hoped he would change his mind.

"I am a competitive guy, and when you get to sit in the big office, you want to stay in it."

Olsen had a 3-8-1 record during United's worst campaign in its 15-season history (6-20-4).

"I believe I can do this job and be successful," he said. "Kevin knows I wanted it, but I understand the reasoning. I'm completely okay with it."

Payne said that United has had substantial conversations with four candidates, including two from overseas, and that he plans to talk with others employed by MLS teams upon the completion of their playoff runs.

He declined to identify candidates, but did say that one of the foreign options has extensive experience as a head coach.

The team hopes to finalize the hiring within six weeks.

Olsen, a D.C. midfielder for 12 years and a fan favorite, plans to return as an assistant unless, he said, the new coach wants to hire his own staff. Payne, however, said that each of the four current candidates has agreed to retain Olsen.

The status of assistant Kris Kelderman and goalkeepers coach Mark Simpson remains unclear. Chad Ashton will return to his post as the club's technical director after helping Olsen with daily responsibilities.

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