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D.C. United Begin 2008 Season

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Ben Olsen
United Midfielder
Wednesday, March 26, 2008; 3:00 PM

D.C. United veteran Ben Olsen was online Wednesday, March 26 at 3 p.m. ET to take your questions about the team, his career and the upcoming season.

A transcript follows.

Olsen has been with the team since 1998. He's been selected to the MLS All-Star Game twice, was the league's rookie of the year in 1998 and MLS Cup MVP in 1999. He played on the U.S. National Team in the 2006 World Cup.

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Rocko: What is your favorite DCU moment of your career so far?

Thanks.

Ben Olsen: hello everyone thank you for stopping by and for your questions. please bear with me because i failed typing at school and was never really a good speler.

my favorite moment of my career was stepping on the field in the world cup.

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Sec 230 row 12: How great are we DCU fans, and how much better are we than the Red Bulls' fans?

Ben Olsen: its not even worth comparing you all to red bulls fans the fans in the city are a big reason why dcunited has had so much success

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Arlington, VA: It took quite a bit of guts for you to mention salary increases while on Fox Business with Garber. You've suddenly become the most vocal player proponent of the debate, seeing that no other current player has really spoken up.

While you're sticking up for the little guy, are you afraid that you might be "black listed" by the league and league officials now by, "stepping out of line"?

Ben Olsen: the league has done some great things in ten years but there is a lot of things that the players would like to see done in the next collective bargaining agreement and yes player salaries at the bottom level is something were hoping to get better not only for the players themselves but for the overall quality of the league

as for being black listed, im probably already there

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Washington, D.C.: If the DC government and DCU front office can't make a deal regarding a stadium in DC, and DCU moves out of the city, how do you think that will effect the team? How does playing in RFK (really) compare to other stadiums in the league?

Ben Olsen: im biased but i love playing at rfk

however our team and our fans deserve a stadium in the city.

i think it would be tragic if we couldnt have a stadium in the city but i understand that if the dc government isnt willing to help us get one we need other options

its the best stadium in the league. i think even other teams would say that and mostly because of the atmosphere the fans create

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Washington, D.C.: Do you listen to any music to get you psyched for a game? If so, what are you listening to lately? During the World Cup?

You rock.

Ben Olsen: not anymore. i used to have special songs and routines before games but i've gotten out of that

believe it or not i mostly listen to talk radio, npr, or wtop, or 1067

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Tallahassee: Ben Olsen:

Last season, your teammate Bobby Boswell posted a video of your unique style for protecting yourself in a wall: Your left arm was protecting that which all soccer players protect when they're in a wall. Your right arm, however, was wrapped around your face - with your eyes tucked tightly in the crook of your elbow. I assume this is so you won't flinch when the ball comes rocketing at you. It's brilliant. Three questions: (1) Where did you learn this technique? (2) Would you recommend it to others? And (3) since Boswell took the video down, is there any way I can see it again?

Ben Olsen: is this bobby boswell asking this question.

its a fear technique that day i just didnt want to get hit in the face for some reason i cant afford for this face to get any uglier

i would not recommend it although i definitely wasnt going to duck if the ball was going to hit me in the face

no its gone forever

i dont let bobby put me on his site anymore

once i told him i was going to sue him if he did it again, and because we have the same agent his response what , "your lawyer is my lawyer so how are you going to do that"

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Melt down?: Ben,

After the hot start last year, when commentators were saying that United was the best team in MLS history, the season just seemed to fizzle out. What was the cause of that? Was the team overrated, or was there some other problem (e.g. internal strife, injuries or fatigue)?

Ben Olsen: we dont buy into those type of comments to much.

however we did seem to fizzle after we had won the supporters shield

to me it comes down to character on your team. do you have the guys on the team that arent satisfied with one trophy. to be consistent in this league during a long season you have to have guys that are hungry and have the ability to focus no matter how long the season is or how many trophies you've won

as a team i think we lost that focus and hunger down the stretch

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Cube: Who is your favorite soccer player in the world, playing or not anymore.

Ben Olsen: i grew up as a big ryan giggs fan

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Philadelphia, Pa.: Are you are any of your teammates superstituos? If so, what are some of the superstitions some of the players go through?

Ben Olsen: i think we all have some things we do but mostly its more of a routine then a superstition for instance i eat the same thing before a game but its because i seem to preform better with that type of food

dema kovalenko (kovalanko) had a lot of them

congrats on the new team

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Chanting in section 135: How is your spanish? How is the on-field communication between all of you now? Is it primarily non-verbal communication when you are on the field?

Ben Olsen: mi espanol es muy malo, everyone knows enough english and spanish to get a point across on the field. and if ya dont ya just call jaime over and he'll help hes become not only a great leader for our team but a accomplished translator.

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Section 131: I know a lot of fans had beef with Tino after the way he acted when he was playing for LA. Did that affect the team at all? Does it look like he's going to have an impact this year?

Hope the ankle is healing well and you're on the field soon!

Ben Olsen: thanks i hope so too.

tinos one of my favorite kids in the league. we took him back with open arms because we as players knew he was going through a lot of difficulties in his life and that a fresh start at home in dc was going to be good for him as a player and more importantly as a person

hes going to help us a lot this year

im happy that the fans took him back as he is a dcunited player at heart

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Silver Spring, Md.: With McTavish playing so well at RM, is there any talk of you playing more defensive midfield when you get back?

How is your health these days, anyway?

Ben Olsen: what does it matter if i come back when you got devon out there .

hes doing great and im so happy that a kid like that who is a great pro and teammate gets a little spotlight.

im coming along but its slow and frustrating but hopefully ill be back in a couple weeks

as far as def mid, im not sure what their plans are, im just focusing on trying to get back

thanks

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Reston, Va.: Is goal-scoring machine Devon McTavish impossible to get along with now?

Ben Olsen: thats funny,

devon has a great self deprecating humor about him so he keeps himself grounded.

although i did hear he started referring himself in the third person like roy lassiter used to

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Vienna, VA: Do you have any ambitions to coach? I think you'd be an excellent candidate given your ability to get along with players and your high soccer IQ (both on the field and in your analysis).

Ben Olsen: thats nice of you to say

i think i would enjoy coaching at some point but theres a lot i'd need to learn first. the older i get the more i realize the tough job coaches have and that just because you played at a high level doesnt mean your going to be a great coach.

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TV: Ben-

Ray Hudson is HILARIOUS as a commentator! I love him! Was he as passionate behind the scenes as DC United head coach?

Good luck this season!

Ben Olsen: ray is great and his passion for the game cant be matched except by some our fans

his locker room speeches before games were something else

he would get so worked up and its nice to be around people that love and appreciate the beauty of soccer..

i think hes a great commentator

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Alexandria, Va.:"Ben Olsen: my favorite moment of my career was stepping on the field in the world cup."

Glad you finally made it. Sitting in the stands and watching there in Nurnberg, it was a bummer of a game, but it was good to see you come all the way back from your injury(s).

Anyway, couple questions:

How's the communication going on the team so far, with all the Portu-Spanglish or whatever?

How does the team feel about Champions Cup, Open Cup, and SuperLiga, and Champions League - too much, bring it all on, or what?

Ben Olsen: thanks for the comment and for trekking over to germany they put on a great event

the spanish speaking guys on the team are working on their english and were working on our spanish. i have to admit, it has been less of an issue than i thought it would be. thats a credit to the guys in the locker room both english and spanish speaking for making sure that we act as one team rather than a divided locker room which i've seen happen without a language barrier.

the cups are once again great opportunities for us to put dc on a bigger map and thats what we are trying to do.

are we ready, i hope so . pachuca is i think the best team in the region over the last couple years and it will be a very difficult series but were due for a big win

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Arlington, VA: How often do you read Goff's Soccer Insider and/or Big Soccer?

Ben Olsen: i check it out every now and then

its very informative and i know he spends a lot of his time on it.

hes does a great job for our sport unless he writes something bad about me in which case i will give his blog a virus

you hear that goff

just joking

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Reston, VA: Of the new players on the team, who should we be watching? Are there any pleasant surprises on the roster?

Ben Olsen: i think peralta has been very impressive so far. i also think santino has been impressive , but dont tell him i said that.

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Reston, VA: Other than salaries, what would you like to see changed to improve MLS?

Ben Olsen: the players as a whole would like to see several things changed in the league, and the majority of those issues are not financial, a lot of those issues will be addressed when our next collective bargaining agreement is up

thanks for the question

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43212: How is your second career as a member of clergy going?

Ben Olsen: terrible, i havent had a gig since nicks wedding

i must have done a terrible job

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College Park, MD: Where do you think you'd be today if not for Bruce Arena?

Ben Olsen: not very far,

i think a lot of players have influences throughout their career, i was just lucky that one of mine was in my mind the best us coach ever

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Owings, MD: Ben, who's going to play in a regular season game first, you or Jaime? You two are the lifeline of DC United. Also, have you been giving pointers to McTavish during the off season?

Thank you for you time and here's to a full recovery.

Ben Olsen: unfortunately jaime will win that one

devin is doing this all by himself

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Washington, D.C.: Amid all the hoopla about the Nats stadium, a painful reminder....what happened to the new soccer stadium?

Ben Olsen: its coming be patient, but not to patient get to your local council member and tell them you want it

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Big, Fan: Ben, how is the team adjusting to all of the new players brought in? I think the new guys are great and going to make the team even better, but it's gotta be tough getting used to a new squad.

Ben Olsen: the transition has gone surprisingly smoothly. credit the coaches and the players for making it work on the field and in the locker room

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Reston, Va.: Seriously. When you shave, how long does it take to grow back in.

Ben Olsen: not long enough

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Brooklyn, N.Y.: You're a Pennsylvania guy, right? Do you have an interest in playing for the new Philly team?

Ben Olsen: i've very happy that philly is getting a team and will be routing for the success of that club

but i am more than happy to be a dcunited player . the club and fans have treated me better than i could have ever imagined and am very lucky to have played my career here and hopefully finish here

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Washington, D.C. : In the ten years you've been with DCU, you have seen many players come and go. Who is the player you miss the most both professionally and personally?

Hope your ankles heal quickly.

Ben Olsen: professionally is one of those words i can never spell right. i never know if it has two ss or two ff. anyways

as a player i miss a lot of guys, ryan nelson, eddie pope , marco, ritchie, harkesy, judah cooks , chris albright , antonio otero , talley, rimando, earnie, dema, christian, etc

this club has had so many great players both personally and professionally i could go on for a while

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NYC : Ben- great seeing two Mountaineers on the squad this year. Any jawing between players regarding their alma maters?

Ben Olsen: not too much , when wvu beat uva last yr in soccer i took a little bit of sh.. from devin. sun shines on a dogs .........., ya know what im saying

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Lanham, MD: Has there been or is there a player that you love playing against or someone you have an intense rivalry with?

Ben Olsen: to me its the rivals are more with the teams than myself. new york, la, new england, and chicago come to mind

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Alexandria, VA: We all know you're one of the team leaders (and our hero), but how are you meshing with all the newcomers on the team?

Ben Olsen: thanks you. im meshing i think pretty good with them. i keep them laughing when i try to speak spanish to them so i think im at least comic relief for them

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Harrisburg, Pa.: If you see a team losing its hunger, what do you do to get your team back on track?

Ben Olsen: whats up hburg

losing has a funny way of motivating a team and getting back the hunger. we can still taste last years loss and the new guys on the team have things to prove.

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Falls Church, VA: What is your take on the current state of the UVA men's soccer program? Wahoowa!

Ben Olsen: college soccer has changed since project 40 and the league came about .

its a lot tougher now i think to have a dynasty and win every year. the playing field has been leveled because most of the great talents go to bradenton

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Washington DC: Ben,

Marc Burch recently stated in an interview that Freddy Adu was "a cancer in the locker room," and a lot of DCU players "are happy to be rid of him." I have two questions. First, how accurate is this? And second, Adu looked to be at a level beyond anyone on the field in the CONCACAF U-23's, but it's hard to know what that really means -- is this a player who has the talent to become world class etc.?

Thanks.

Ben Olsen: that was the first ive heard of that quote, and ill bet you it wasnt worded quite the way burch said it.

look freddy was a young kid when he came to us and he had a lot on his shoulders. he was thrown into a world i dont think any of us can understand.

but what i happy to see now is that he looks like hes going to be a very important player for this country . world class? i dont see why not

i think the move to portugal was important for him as a player and as a young man

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College Park, MD: Ben,

Thanks for doing the chat - I really like getting to talk to the athletes/coaches themselves rather than just the reporters covering them.

Being that most of us will never get the opportunity, what is it like playing in the World Cup? Any chance you get another shot at it in 2010?

Ben Olsen: your welcome

the world cup was the best moment of my career and despite not doing so hot, i really enjoyed. germany put on an incredible show

im pretty sure my days with the national team is over. but it was certainly fun while it lasted

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Bealeton, VA: Ben, Aside from staying healthy, what does DCU have to do this year to win its fifth MLS Cup?

Ben Olsen: along with a little luck we need to be a better defensive team and not give up soft goals.

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Fairfax, VA: Ben,

Can you give us a brief personality profile of the new additions to the team? Ya know, insider stuff. For example, we'd love to know stuff like Gallardo is an accomplished ballroom dancer or one of the Gonzalos plays in a death-metal band on the side.

Ben Olsen: interestingly enough gallardo does a mean cha cha

honestly i'm not just saying this but they are all really solid guys on the field and in the locker room they're friendly and i believe they are really happy with their decision to come to this club.

the class clown of the crew is definitely martinez though

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Arlington, VA.: To boost interest in the game: have you considered marrying a Spice Girl and have her watching on the sidelines?

Ben Olsen: no but i tell young guys its important for them to marry famous for the sake of our sport. we need more guys on TMZ

i always had a thing for ginger spice

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DC United fan: I'm sure this is the question at the top of everyone's minds today:

How's the beard? ...I mean, ankles?

Ben Olsen: i wish the cartilage in my ankle would grow a bit quicker than my beard

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Ben Olsen: thanks for the questions everyone. i'm going to go ice my fingers now.

enjoy the season and see you at the games

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