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“I would have bet my life he would not have ended up as a coach,” said Arena, who explained, “I say that in a good way because he has so many qualities — he’s intelligent, he’s got a great personality — that I think a lot of doors can open for Ben, inside our sport and outside it.”

Olsen, though, wasn’t quite so optimistic about where life would have taken him if coaching didn’t work out, straining for an answer before concluding, “I’d probably be playing on the indoor soccer circuit somewhere, thrashing my ankles around, playing only in games, never training.”

He made the remark with his typical knowing laugh, but it seemed as if he was only half-joking. Soccer is just in his DNA. Yet Olsen, a resident of the District’s Shaw neighborhood, is quick to point out life beyond the pitch is plenty rewarding, especially when it comes to raising his 3-year-old daughter, Ruby, and 1-year-old son, Oscar.

“He’s very hands-on, as you can imagine,” said Olsen’s wife, Megan. “He’s the fun dad at the park, running around and going down the slide, because you know Ben obviously wants to play. He loves the kids, the kids love him, and they miss him a lot while he’s away. But he talks to them on the phone every night or on FaceTime. When he gets home, he’s extra helpful.”

It’s not an easy balance to strike. The rigors of coaching can wear down even the cheeriest of personas, and Olsen said managing his first preseason shortly after Oscar’s birth last winter was at times overwhelming.

“It worked on me pretty good,” he recalled. “Sleep deprivation was pretty much a common theme. But I’ve really enjoyed being a father and all that comes with it, the highs and lows.”

He now boasts a full year of experience, as a coach and father of two. For Olsen, it feels as if life’s once-scattered pieces have nicely fallen into place, leaving him better prepared to tackle a promising coaching career and enjoy everything fatherhood has to offer.

“I’m in a better rhythm this year,” Olsen said, “both on and off the field.”