Chat with Ben Olsen
Olsen joined D.C. United as a right midfielder in 1997 shortly after finishing his junior season at the University of Virginia. Over his 12 seasons with United, Ben has earned several awards including MLS Rookie of the Year, MLS Cup MVP, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2007. Olsen also enjoyed time on the U.S. National Team and was apart of the 2006 US World Cup roster.
Send in your questions now and join Olsen on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, then be sure to tune in Friday April 17, ESPN2 at 7 pm ET as D.C. United takes on New England.
Ben Olsen (3:01 PM)
Thanks everyone for coming on. I hope what I have to say is worth something.
John (Boulder, CO)
In your opinion, which stadium is the most intimidating to play in?
Ben Olsen (3:02 PM)
Probably either Toronto or Salt Lake, at least the old Salt Lake, have not seen the new one. In Toronto they do a good job creating good home field advantage. There are not enough home field advantages in the league, but they do a good job creating one.
What are your thoughts going into a rivalry game at home against New England on Friday?
Ben Olsen (3:03 PM)
We always have some great, physical battles and over the years have produced some special games, so we are excited for our first matchup with them this year.
Alexandra, Norfolk, VA
What are your thoughts on the D.C. stadium struggle and the possibility of moving the team?
Ben Olsen (3:05 PM)
That is premature. We are a flagship team for this league and that would be a disaster and I do not think ti would happen. But the business is such that you need a stadium and hopefully the falling through of the Maryland project is a blessing and we end up getting a stadium. D.C. is a soccer stadium, it is a global city that loves soccer and deserves a stadium, as do our fans. Our front office has done everything they can. They work insane hours trying to get this done. People are not cooperating with us it seems like which is unfortunate.
Lula (Alexandria, VA)
your teammate bryan namoff is "unleashing the namoff" on twitter this season, do you have plans to do something similar?
Ben Olsen (3:06 PM)
No I do not think I am that important to let people know what I am doing all day long!
Have you kicked the ball around with President Obama on the south lawn yet?
Ben Olsen (3:07 PM)
No I wish. I was there at the White House yesterday, helping with the Easter Egg Roll. I did not get to meet President Obama, but I sure would have liked to. We are trying to get him to a D.C.-Chicago game. But I hear he is a West Ham fan.
How is the ankle feeling?
Ben Olsen (3:09 PM)
The ankles are okay. They are not the ankles I would have liked to have had at this point in my career. They are a little sore, so I took a little break and hopefully I will be okay for Friday. It is a daily grind. Some days are good, some days are not so good.
Benny - tuna at Ben's Chilli Bowl... really? What are you thinking?
Ben Olsen (3:11 PM)
I am embarrassed to say that I did order tuna there at the famous Ben's Chili Bowl. I have my vices, do not worry.
What is your favorite United supporter group?
Ben Olsen (3:11 PM)
I cannot pick just one. You know better than that.
The D.C. midfield seems to be coming together this season. What are your thoughts on Emilio's play and the return of Christian Gomez?
Ben Olsen (3:13 PM)
Obviously Emilio is doing what he is supposed to do, score goals. he has 3 already in five games that is what we expect and Christian has been pretty good. he was out for a year and is still getting back. We are not used to having as Christian Gomez to play through, so we need to find him more so he can do what he does best.
Which soccer players inspired you growing up?
Ben Olsen (3:14 PM)
I had an older brother who played, so it was more locals kids. My brother and his friends inspired me more than any big star. The exposure regarding soccer when I grew up was not that big. We could not turn on FSC and watch all these wonderful player. So for me it was more guys around the local leagues.
Esmerelda (Annapolis, MD)
Where did your daughter's name come from? cause Ruby Lou might be the cutest name ever.
Ben Olsen (3:16 PM)
Thank you. My wife loved the name Ruby, so I did not have much of a choice, so I threw the Lou in there to make it sound, nice cute and country. Her sister just had a baby and named her baby Daisy Blue. So together we have Ruby Lou and Daisy Blue...sounds like a bad country duo.
What kind of hazing do you do to rookies Chris Pontius and Rodney Wallace?
Ben Olsen (3:17 PM)
They have been playing pretty well so we have been staying away from them. I am sure at some point we'll get to that. we usuaully let them think about it and get them halfway through the year so we can put fear into their hearts about what we are going to do. Although we are pretty easy on them in the end.
Charlie (Washington, DC)
Thanks for doing this, Ben - you've won a ton of trophies and individual awards during your career. What do you consider to be your best moment as a professional soccer player?
Ben Olsen (3:19 PM)
I have to say stepping on the field in the World Cup. I think every player wants to get to that pinnacle and to sneak on and be part of the World Cup and to be part in a small aspect something, when it is all said and done, I'll cherish. I think that will be what I consider the most special moment.
Michael Gillespie (Becket, MA)
As one of the few players to have been in MLS since its early years, how would you rate the quality of play in the league now vs. then?
Ben Olsen (3:24 PM)
Early on I thought there was definitely less parity. You had a couple of teams that were consistently good and teams that never really got off the mark. And then as the league went people figured out what worked in the league and now it is a more athletic, faster league. I do not know if the style of play is any better but it is faster and stronger. I would say it has come a a long way as far as marketing and exposure. Obviously we would like to be on SportsCenter and the mainstream media more, but we have come a long way. I also think it is important the league open things up a bit and start making this a league to be reckoned with in the world. It has been a good start and we have a great base, but now I think it is time to bring the league to the next level.
Ben Olsen (3:24 PM)
Thanks for stopping me. Enjoy today's soccer games and tune in Friday night to see what hopefully will be another good game between New England and D.C.