After two seasons out of coaching following 10 years as the manager of DC United. Ben Olsen is the new head coach of the Houston Dynamo.
Speaking to houstondynamofc.com Olsen said
“I am excited to join Houston Dynamo FC and contribute to the rich history of one of the great MLS clubs, I was drawn to ownership’s vision for the club, and I am confident in this new era for the Dynamo. We have a lot of work to do on the roster, game model, mentality and culture of the club, but I am energized and excited to get to work.”
The new Houston coach has been surrounded by great managers since his college days with the Virginia Cavaliers, where he was coached by Bruce Arena.
Former MLS coach of the year Ben Olsen is the Houston Dynamo’s new manager
After leaving the University of Virginia, Olsen joined DC United, where he played for his whole career barring a loan spell with Nottingham Forest.
Following his retirement, he became an assistant coach with the Black and Red under Curt Onalfo, and became the head coach after Onalfo was let go, staying in the role for a decade and winning the US Open Cup in 2013 and Coach of the Year the following year.
He left the club in 2020 after a run of four back-to-back MLS defeats and has since spent time working as president of the Washington Spirit in the NWSL.
After being at DC United for so long, it will be strange for some fans to see him in the orange of Houston.
How can Olsen improve Houston?
Houston finished 13th in the Western Conference last season, only ahead of San Jose Earthquakes, so the only way should be up for Olsen at the club.
After such a long stint at DC United, it was wise for him to take two years out of coaching before returning to the game with hopefully the right club for him.
There is a lot of competition in the Western Conference. After all, they have the reigning MLS Cup champions Los Angeles FC.
Houston scored 43 goals last season, which is only five behind third-placed FC Dallas. Scoring goals is not a problem for the side, but keeping them out is – as they finished with a goal difference of -13. Shoring up his new team at the back will be top of Olsen’s priorities.
Houston has some excellent South American talents in Sebastián Ferreira (who was their top goalscorer last season with 13) and 35-year-old Columbian Darwin Quintero (who scored eight goals) although the latter’s contract is up and it is still yet to be seen if he will remain at the club. Experienced forward Fafa Picault, who scored seven goals last season, has departed for Nashville.
Olsen certainly has some big decisions to make in regard to his older players ahead of the 2023 season. If he is to have the longevity at Houston that he had in Washington then he will need to start integrating some young talent, which will hopefully be with him for the long haul.
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