Ben Olsen tabbed for D.C. United Hall of Tradition

711410.png

Ben Olsen tabbed for D.C. United Hall of Tradition

CSNWashington.com

Today, D.C. United announced that Ben Olsen has been voted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition, presented by GEICO. The iconic midfielder earnedUniteds most prestigious honor by collecting 81 of the fan vote on dcunited.com. Olsen will be inducted in a ceremony on September 15 when United faces the New England Revolution at 7:30 PM.

I am honored that the D.C. United faithful have put me in the Hall of Tradition, said Olsen. The support Ive received from our fans during my time here has been overwhelming and I can only hope to repay them with success on the field with our current team. This organization has given me a great deal in my life and to be in its Hall of Tradition alongside players that have mentored me throughout my career is something I will always cherish.

D.C. United President and CEO Kevin Payne said, Its appropriate that Ben Olsen is joining his former teammates in the Hall of Tradition, and added that His service to our club has always been exemplary, and hes now writing a new chapter in our clubs history as our coach. He remains the heart and soul of our team.

A skilled and fiery midfielder, Olsen is one of the most popular players to ever don the Black-and-Red. Olsen joined D.C. United in 1998 as a highly regarded prospect out of the University of Virginia, and during his stellar 11-year playing career he boasted an unwavering commitment to the club. Olsen had a large role in winning two MLS Cup titles (1999 and 2004), three Supporters Shields (1999, 2006 and 2007), 1998 Champions Cup and InterAmerican Cup victories, and a U.S. Open Cup championship (2008). Individually, he was the 1998 MLS Rookie of the Year, was honored as an All-Star five times (1998, 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2006), was a member of the 2007 MLS Best XI, was the 2003 USSF MLS Humanitarian of the Year,and was the 1999 MLS Cup MVP. Olsen retired on November 24, 2009, ranking second in for the club in all-time MLS games played and started (221 and 200, respectively), second in minutes played (17, 098), third in assists (49), and seventh in goals (29).

In addition to currently coaching D.C. United, Ben Olsen will also be coaching the MLS All-Stars as they face off against Chelsea FC at 8:30 PM on July 25th.

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

As U.S. Women’s Soccer star Heather O’Reilly steps into international retirement Thursday night, her soon-to-be former teammates are jumping at the chance to honor O’Reilly one last time.

"She’s the best teammate I ever had,” said Ali Krieger, who has played alongside O’Reilly on the USWNT since 2008. “She’s such an inspiration for so many young athletes, but also for us – her current teammates and the players in the National Women’s Soccer League. She’s been a legend.”

O’Reilly will end her 15-year international career when the U.S. Women face Thailand in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night.

“She’s motivated me and I know my teammates to want to better themselves every single day,” Krieger said of O’Reilly’s legacy on the national team. “That is something that she can leave us. I’m so happy for her, I’m really proud of her and she continued to inspire me every single day. I wish her all the best and I’m going to miss her like crazy.”

Of all O’Reilly’s teammates, few can appreciate the retiring legend quite like Krieger. The two often featured together on the right side of the U.S. formation, Krieger in defense and O’Reilly just ahead of her in midfield, resulting in a bond that will last beyond their playing days.

“We always say ‘right side – strong side’, so we’re going to hold on to that forever,” Krieger said with a smile. “She’s one of my best friends on the team and I support her decision.”

O’Reilly’s decision was likely made easier by the changing landscape of the national team. After seeing her minutes dwindle during last summer’s successful World Cup run, the 31-year-old veteran was left off the U.S. Olympic Team in August instead traveling to Brazil as an alternate.

Despite that, O’Reilly’s career compares favorably to pretty much every other U.S. international. O'Reilly made her senior international debut while still in high school, and her 230 appearances rank seventh all-time in U.S. Women’s National Team history. 

“It’s so much more than the player that she is and what she’s done for the national team,” said U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn. “It’s her – the person – that I’m going to miss seeing in camps and chatting it up.”

Though they didn’t overlap in Chapel Hill, both Dunn and O’Reilly played collegiately for North Carolina. Thanks to that Tar Heel connection, the duo trained together frequently even when not with the U.S. team.

“She was just one of those people that I looked up to,” Dunn added. “She would kick my butt every single day and I was so in awe that she would go out of her way to help make me better."

MORE SOCCER: STL: 'Tyrant'-like act by Spirit to stifle Rapinoe protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Two days after the Washington Spirit organization changed the timing of their pregame routine in order to preempt Megan Rapinoe’s national anthem protest, Spirit players are speaking out against the team’s decision.

"We respect our owner’s freedom to share his views and we understand his intentions,” read a statement posted on the Spirit website. “But as a team we don’t necessarily agree with those opinions or the actions taken Wednesday evening.” 

The statement - signed ‘all of the players of the Washington Spirit’ - was also posted to Spirit captain, and longtime U.S. Women’s National Team star, Ali Krieger’s personal website. 

“As a team, we were disappointed we were not informed of the plans for the national anthem or given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision,” the statement continued.

The Washington Spirit and Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign FC were still in the locker rooms when the national anthem was played ahead of schedule at Wednesday’s National Women’s Soccer League match between the two teams. 

In an exclusive interview Tuesday afternoon, Rapinoe told CSN that she planned to kneel during the national anthem prior to Wednesday's game - as she did before Sunday's NWSL contest between Seattle and the Chicago Red Stars.