The Washington Times - July 4, 2012, 02:07PM

If you’ve picked up a print edition of The Times, you’ve probably noticed the centerpiece of today’s sports section is my feature on Josh Wolff, who this season has taken on the unique role of serving as a player and an assistant coach for D.C. United.

The 35-year-old had plenty to say that I couldn’t fit into the print-edition story, so I’ve included some additional excerpts from our conversation below:


On the responsibilities of his assistant coaching position:

“I do a bit more with the staff and trying to analyze guys, analyze other teams, games, and just the tactics of some of the things we’re doing or trying to do, as well as the other team. … It’s just something to help [coach Ben Olsen] and [assistant coaches] Pat [Onstad] and Chad [Ashton] as well, sharing my ideas, my experiences that I think are important to the game and trying to help us create positives within our group that can help us win week to week and better the players week to week. I think the most important part is that we continue to push each player and make them better soccer players so that the product we have continues to get better. That’s really what the whole year’s about. We’ve had a good start, but now you have to keep pushing the right buttons.”

On the evolution of his coaching role:

“I think the further I’m in this position, the more it will evolve for me. What the offseason looks like — that’s another side to it. There are a lot of things that go on in the offseason that as a player you don’t really concern yourself with. There’s a lot that goes on to keep this team moving forward and making sure you’re taking advantage of situations personnelwise. It’s a growing thing for me for sure.”

On his role in making personnel decisions:

“I think I just lend an idea. That’s Benny and [general manager] Dave [Kasper] and [president] Kevin [Payne] in the end, I think, that will make those final decisions. It’s more or less we all get in there and have our own ideas. You have your own opinions and the way you see. That’s the good thing — everyone does voice themselves, and that’s constructive to the group. You might not like it, but it’s something that someone sees in another way and I think that’s part of this whole process. That’s part of putting a good staff together so you don’t have all four or five guys running in the same line. You have guys that bring a little different idea to it.”

On the youth of United’s coaching staff:

“I think that’s where Chad does a great job of certainly having the curriculum. He’s been a coach before obviously with college and stuff, and he’s been here for a number of years as an assistant, so he has the ideas and he has the awareness. He’s been in this league as well to see it from a coaching side in the offseason, what those things look like, the players that you have to go out and get. And myself, I’m still playing, and Benny and Pat are recently removed, so there’s still that understanding of what this league is about, how it ticks. Granted, the league is getting better, the product is getting better. So all of those things have to continue to evolve, from a day-to-day but also looking to the future. And I think it’s good that we have a young staff, but it’s all about growing and maturing. Whether you’re a player or a coach, it’s still an evolving process.”

On interest in becoming a head coach down the road:

“I don’t put a whole lot of stock into it at this point. I’m getting the opportunity to see what it’s like. Obviously there’s a lot more that goes into being a head coach. I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity, learn within playing and coaching what it takes because there’s a lot that goes into it each day. By no means am I going to sit here and say I want to be a head coach or I deserve to be a head coach because you earn that right. It’s a process that is groomed over typically a number of years. The most successful ones in our league that I see in my eyes are people who have done it for 30, 40 years. By no means is it something that’s going to be easy. But I look at it as something that is certainly a good opportunity down the road, and hopefully it comes.”

On what has most surprised him about coaching:

“It’s a lot more time-consuming. And I’m not as subjected to it as certainly as Benny and Pat and Chad because I do play and they understand that. ‘Look, get away. You don’t have to be in here the whole time.’ But they do a lot of work. There’s a lot of leg work while we’re here, but there’s a lot of leg work while they’re home or elsewhere. It’s a big time commitment. Obviously, I think it’s real and your family and all those things play a role in how far you want to pursue this. It’s certainly one aspect I think a lot of guys don’t give a lot of thought to as players, for sure.”