Jan. 16, 2013
Toronto FC release
STANFORD, Calif. - Former Stanford All-American Ryan Nelsen '01 was named Head Coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC last week, becoming the eighth head coach and the youngest, at age 35, in club history.
He takes over a Toronto FC club that finished 2012 at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table with 23 points (5-21-8 overall record). The club, however, captured its fourth Voyageur Cup by winning the 2012 Amway Canadian Championship with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The cup win qualified Toronto FC for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League, where it bowed out of the competition at the group play stage.
Nelsen, currently under contract with Queens Park Rangers of the English Premier League through June 30, 2013, is in discussions with the English club to determine when he will officially join Toronto FC.
The Christchurch, New Zealand native transferred to Stanford in 1999 following two seasons at Greensboro College. Over his two seasons on The Farm, Nelsen marshaled the Cardinal midfield and helped anchor the defense to a national-best 0.44 goals-against average in 2000. He also scored eight goals with 10 assists on the offensive end.
Nelsen earned All-America recognition and was named Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000 after leading the Cardinal to an 18-3-1 record and NCAA Tournament quarterfinal berth.
Although he played four seasons for his hometown club, Christchurch United, from 1995-98, his professional career began in MLS with D.C. United, which made Nelsen the fourth overall pick in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft. After four seasons in the nation's capital, where he twice earned MLS Best XI honors (2003-04) and helped lead the club to an MLS title, Nelsen made the move across the Atlantic, joining the English Premier League's Blackburn Rovers. He captained the club and made 195 appearances there until 2012 when he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a six-month spell, making nine appearances for the London outfit before moving across town to join QPR prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
He has made 18 appearances and scored a goal for the Hoops so far this season.
On the international scene, Nelsen has represented New Zealand on and off since 1999. He has made 49 appearances for the All Whites, including two Olympic tournaments (2008, 2012) and a World Cup (2010) where he served as captain. At the World Cup in South Africa, Nelsen earned the distinction of captaining the All Whites to their first World Cup Finals point in a 1-1 draw with Slovakia on June 15, 2010.