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Former D.C. United captain Ryan Nelsen named Head Coach of Toronto FC

The defender retires from play to coach in MLS

Ryan Nelsen - bio photo

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Current Queens Park Rangers (QPR) player and former United captain Ryan Nelsen, 35, has been named head coach of Toronto FC, the club announced today. The New Zealand international was drafted No. 4 overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by DC and featured in 81 games (78 starts) through the 2004 season. Nelsen led the club to its last MLS Cup in 2004 and notched seven goals and five assists during his Black-and-Red career.

“For the first time I met Ryan, I was incredibly impressed by his leadership qualities, his intelligence, his professionalism,” said Toronto FC President/GM and former United President/CEO Kevin Payne. “Ryan has better leadership qualities than any professional athlete I have been around…I am absolutely thrilled about his decision to join Toronto FC.”

“To be part of TFC is a privilege and extremely exciting,” added Nelsen.

Nelsen is currently under contract with QPR until June 30, but it is unknown when he will join up with the Reds as head coach.

“QPR is in a difficult situation…we’ll be talking when I get back to England,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen is the eighth Toronto FC skipper since 2006, and is taking over a team that finished last in MLS 2012 with a record of 5-21-8.