After selecting an attacking midfielder in the first round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, D.C. United stayed in the midfield for their selection in the second round, selecting Paul Clowes, a holding midfielder, from Clemson University.
The Black-and-Red acquired the 12th pick in the second round, along with Target Allocation Money, by trading their 13th pick in the first round to Orlando City SC.
"We got a guy that we liked from the start of the combine. He fills a need right now. He's a very good passer, a number 6," Olsen said of Clowes. "And we're looking forward to seeing him in camp. Hopefully he fits in with the group, and does a good enough job to make an impact, to be on the team."
Clowes, who hails from England, spent four years deputizing for Clemson in midfield. Clowes, a self described holding or box to box midfielder, made 82 starts in 86 appearances, earning a MAC Hermann semifinalist nod after his senior season.
"It's been awesome. I didn't know what a draft was four years ago," Clowes said of his draft day experience. "So to be a part of it now is really great. Over the moon to be picked by D.C. United. I really have a lot of respect for the coaching staff and the style of play. I was fortunate to meet with them during the combine, and had a really great experience."
"I like to move the ball quickly, playing two or three touches," Clowes added. "And getting the ball, switching it side to side, and break up play if possible, and play forward. I leave my heart out on the field, my style of play is gutsy."
One of the needs that Clowes could potentially fill in for is Davy Arnaud. After suffering a concussion in August last season, Arnaud could not manage to get back on the field for United. The 35 year old is still trying to make it back for United, but just in case, Clowes could be the necessary insurance policy.
"Davy is fine. We'll see in preseason. We expect him to come to preseason, evaluate him on a daily basis, and see where he is at," Olsen said. "He's had a good rest, and doing some running, and making sure he is ready to go, ready to give this thing a go once preseason begins. His mindset is set on playing. If he's healthy, that's great for us."
In addition to the combine, Olsen said that Clowes was already in the team's sights due to the fact that he was playing with Clemson, who made it all the way to the College Cup final this year, before falling to Stanford University. That spotlight provided Olsen and company the opportunity to have even more information in their Clowes dossier.
"[Clemson] was on a lot of people's radar. One of the better teams in the country this year. Everyone knew their players coming in. A real technical player, understands how to play the position, always looking to play forward. We like his range of passing, and physically he's better than people give him credit for."
There are some similarities between Clowes and United's second round pick last year. In 2015, University of Maryland midfielder Dan Metzger, similar in stature and position to Clowes, was selected by the Black-and-Red. But Metzger could never get off the ground with United, who parted ways with him during the preseason.
So for Olsen, the onus is on Clowes to prove to United that he belongs on the team, a task that has to be completed in United's shortened preseason, with Champions League play just over a month away.
"We have high hopes, but these kids have to come in to preseason, and prove that they're worth it. But I think he is going to be a good player," said Olsen.