Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ben Olsen - A DC Legend Retires

Just want to say a quick few words on Ben Olsen, who officially retired today from DC United. Having played in the second most games in team history, the fiery and gritty Olsen was the heart and soul of DC United for so many years.

People still seem to forget that when he first came upon the professional scene from college that he was a dangerous attacking player who probably could have locked down the US right midfield spot. His loan to Nottingham Forest was hugely successful, with Forest supporters still asking about and remembering him. Unfortunately his second devastating ankle injury there ended that bright start to his future and forced Benny to reinvent himself as a gritty defensive midfielder. But I guess in the end, as a DC United fan I was fortunate that Benny came home and I was able to see him play out the rest of his career in front of me.

Benny won the MLS rookie of the year, two MLS Cups, including one MLS Cup MVP, and other MLS honors, but you can never really quantify what he did and meant to DC. He was the most popular player on MLS's most successful club, he played for and to the DC United fans, getting them fired up unlike no one else on the club. That and he was a pretty damn excellent defensive midfielder in MLS. It's the little moments and outbursts that stick out, with the crowd always chanting his name. That hairy little man had a stature far greater than his 5'8" body would belie.

Here's a clip of my favorite moment from my favorite DC United player, his hat trick against arch rival NY Red Bulls, including a great third that had us all on edge as the play was happening because we just knew the hat trick was coming.

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