Ryan Nelsen's distinguished football playing career looks to be ending; the Herald reports:
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen has been confirmed as the new head coach of Toronto FC, however it is unclear when he will play his last game for current club, Queens Park Rangers.
Following days of speculation, Nelsen was officially confirmed as head coach of the MLS side at a press conference at 10.30am EST (4.30am NZT).
The club's president and general manager Kevin Payne said a player/manager role was never considered for Nelsen.
Nelsen told media he is definitely ready to end his playing days.
"I think my knees have been telling me that for about two or three years now and the grey hairs on the side of my head as well."
Payne was in charge at DC United during Nelsen's spell there which included an MLS title in 2004 and said even then he knew the New Zealanders would make a good head coach.
"From the day Ryan arrived in DC as a 23 year old player, I always knew he would be a head coach someday," Payne said.
"I believe his leadership qualities, intelligence, preparation and character will contribute to his success as a coach. I couldn't ask for a better person to lead our club."
Nelsen told media he had not spoken to New Zealand Football to discuss his international future. The All Whites next World Cup qualifiers, against New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, are scheduled for March.
Whilst this is fantastic news for Ryan Nelsen on a personal and professional level, it will come as a huge blow to All Whites coach Ricki Herbert. Nelsen will be hugely difficult to replace as All Whites captain, and has been the team's rock in defence for many seasons. It is certainly a blow to Herbert's chances of taking the team to a second consecutive World Cup in Brazil next year.
Ryan Nelsen has been the consummate professional player. We have little doubt that he will successfully transition to the head coaching role, and who knows; he may even coach the All Whites at some time in the future. We certainly wouldn't bet against it, and wish him every success in his new career.