Ben Olsen has revealed how the Houston Dynamo’s ‘support and infrastructure’ were key to him taking the job as the club’s new head coach.
Olsen was introduced as Paulo Nagamura’s replacement on Tuesday and will be tasked with lifting the Dynamo from a 13th-place finish in the West in 2022. Houston have now made the MLS Cup Playoffs just once in the last nine years (2017).
The Dynamo is a tough job in itself, not least with the scrutiny Olsen will be under after struggling for almost 10 years as DC United head coach – winning the US Open Cup in 2013 but failing to make the Playoffs in four of his nine full years in charge.
However, Olsen knows he’ll be fully supported in Houston as he begins a new project.
“Relationships with people that I trust, and coming here in particular, with Pat (Onstad). A fresh ownership that I also grew to enjoy being around and trust, the resources that they are putting into the club,” Olsen responded when asked by reporters what attracted him to the Dynamo job.
“Not just players, right? It’s more than just players. It’s support around myself and my staff. It’s infrastructure. So, it’s the commitment to the fan base to dig out of where we’re at as a club. It takes enhancing so many areas of the club.
“So, those were very, very important to me. The ability to hire a complete staff. I have some faults, I am not perfect, and I need a lot of people, I need a lot of help around me. I know what those profiles of people look like. They’ve assured me that I can go get those people to make myself whole and make this staff as good as possible.”
While the Dynamo faded fast and struggled at the wrong end of the Western Conference in 2022, this is not a roster without talent. In fact, Olsen is confident he has a strong core to build from, with Houston’s DP (Designated Player) talent up there with some of the best in MLS.
“I would argue that that the DPs that are here are at a very high level,” Olsen said. “Hector (Herrera), we haven’t seen the best of him. It’s an interesting year for him coming in. You have the World Cup on the horizon, some injuries, transition to a new league. I think we’re going to see a whole other Hector Herrera next year for this club. He’s going to be a huge piece. He’s one guy I will speak about, because I know he’s going to be here and he’s going to be a huge part.
“(Coco) Carrasquilla is a player I’m very excited to work with and (Sebas) Ferreira. He scores goals. Wayne Rooney scored goals and Ferreira can score goals, it’s the same thing. We need to keep adding his numbers up to 15-20 goals a year. We have about 10 spots to fill. So that’s our responsibility now, to make sure those spots are filled in the right way, in a responsible way. Pushing this club forward and that’s ultimately how we’re going to be successful.”
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