Ben Olsen

On the Playoffs, DC Fans and Soccer Style

None Ben Olsen has been with DC United since 1997, as a player and now as head coach. This year, he authored the greatest turnaround in MLS history, going from three wins in 2013 to the top seed in the 2014 Eastern Conference playoffs, which start this week. We caught up with him to discuss suits, DC fans and trading shoes. Read the entire interview here.

UD: When will people start to refer to DC United in the same breath as the four major sports?
Olsen: We’re not going to take away Redskins fans or die-hard Caps fans. We can all have success. Get a new stadium and there will be sellouts every weekend. [The soccer-specific stadiums] create atmospheres like no other sports.

UD: Does style go with the territory as a soccer coach? You can’t exactly wear a team hoodie.
Olsen: I think you have to wear suits at home. I represent a city that dresses pretty well. But there is something to the soccer manager, more than other sports, where fashion does come into it.

UD: Will you have a playoff beard?
Olsen: Just because I have one doesn’t mean it’s planned.

UD: We heard you exchanged your shoes with someone.
Olsen: Some kid [in Montreal] said, “I love your kicks.” And I said, “You want ’em? You got to give me yours.” So he gave me his old stinky teenager shoes and I gave him my new Air Maxes.

UD: What’s your favorite spot in the city?
Olsen: I’ve been sneaking to Red Hen, at the bar. On 7th Street, Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency.

UD: Are you guys going to take the Cup?
Olsen: To take the Cup you need some lucky bounces. You need a break or two, you need a call or two. I do think we have the personality and the moxie to win a championship. I hope so. It would be great to bring something back to the city.

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