Ben Olsen announced his retirement from the professional game on Tuesday, bringing an 12 year career to a close.
“Ben Olsen has been called the heart and soul of D.C. United and, over the years, that is exactly what we’ve come to expect from him,” said D.C. United president Kevin Payne. “Since he joined our team as the League’s first Project-40 player until his last game in the 2009 season, Ben gave all that he had for his team and his teammates. You can’t replace a player like Ben, you simply hope that other players can step up and shoulder the mantle that he carried for so long. He’s simply one of the greatest players in D.C. United history.”
The 32-year-old suffered two major ankle injuries in his career. After earning a move to Nottingham Forest from his bursting wing play for D.C. United and the United States national side, the 1998 MLS rookie of the year fractured his ankle. Four corrective surgeries and two years later, Olsen returned to the capital club. He helped the club win the 2004 MLS Cup and the 2006 and 2007 Supporters' Shields.
In the end of 2007, he needed four additional surgeries on his ankles. When he returned, it was in a limited capacity. Olsen switched to a holding midfielder to help compensate for his lack of mobility.
After struggling through the season, despite being named as a finalist for the comeback player of the year, Olsen decided to call it a day.
“Ben has enjoyed a remarkable career at D.C. United and it has been a true pleasure working with such a special person,” said United general manager Dave Kasper. “He has defined what United is all about, and he has set a high bar for professional soccer players in the United States. In his 12 years at D.C. United, he brought us heart, character, personality, intelligence and championships. I know that Ben will be successful in everything that he does in life, and I wish he and his family the best of luck always.”
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