A tussle involving Ben Olsen, D.C. United and U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena was resolved yesterday when Arena added the 22-year-old midfielder to his roster for next week's friendly match in Jamaica.
"Obviously, he's a great addition to our roster," Arena said before departing for Toronto to watch the Jamaicans play Canada last night. "I'm glad it worked out."
Arena initially requested Olsen last week, but United declined to release him because of shin and groin injuries, as well as fatigue. After re-considering their decision, D.C. United officials announced Wednesday that they had changed their minds and would let Olsen go.
But later that day Arena said he wasn't sure he would be able to add Olsen because the roster had been officially announced Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Olsen was added without cutting another player, leaving Arena with 19 players for Wednesday's game at National Stadium in Kingston. The collective bargaining agreement between U.S. players and the USSF is to take and pay 18 players on a road trip. But "under the circumstances, with Ben now available to play, we feel the right thing to do is to extend [the invitation] and bring him in," USSF chief operating officer Tom King said from Chicago.
Olsen is among four United players headed to Jamaica, joining defender Eddie Pope, midfielder Richie Williams and forward Chris Albright. Following the game, all four will travel to Tampa for a Major League Soccer match against the Mutiny two days later.
Olsen, who has two goals in seven U.S. appearances, is considered Arena's top young prospect as the team prepares for the 2002 World Cup qualifying rounds, which begin next year. He probably will start against Jamaica.