Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - A new era for Toronto FC began on Tuesday as
the club named Ryan Nelsen as the successor to head coach Paul Mariner, who
was let go earlier in the day.
Nelsen, 35, is still under contract with QPR of the English Premier League and
said he still has "obligations" to the club. The defender made no indication
as to how he would balance his coaching duties with TFC and his playing
responsibilities with QPR, which is currently bottom of the Premier League
A graduate of Stanford University, Nelsen was drafted by D.C. United in 2001
and went on to make 81 league appearances for the club. He wore the captain's
armband during his time at RFK Stadium and led the club to the MLS Cup title
Nelsen made the move to England in 2005 to join Blackburn, captaining the club
for seven years. He joined Tottenham in January 2012 before making the switch
to QPR in the summer.
"It's the dawn of a new era, as far as I'm concerned," Toronto FC President
Kevin Payne said in a press conference Tuesday morning. "I always thought that
Ryan would end up becoming an outstanding coach."
Nelsen takes over for Mariner, who became Toronto's seventh coach when he
replaced Aron Winter on June 7, 2012. He went on to post a record of 4-12-8 in
league play in 2-2-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League.
"This was a difficult decision, but one that was made in consideration of the
strategic and cultural direction our club is taking," Payne said of the
decision to part ways with Mariner. "I want to thank Paul for his dedicated
service to Toronto FC. He had a difficult task last season when he was asked
to take over the club after a tough start. On behalf of our club, we wish him
well in his future endeavors."
Nelsen, who does not have any coaching certifications, will not be at this
week's MLS Combine or next week's MLS SuperDraft. Fran O'Leary, who was named
assistant coach and director of recruitment for TFC on Tuesday, will oversee
the first-team responsibilities in Nelsen's absence.
The Sports Network