By IVES GALARCEP
When Toronto FC hired Kevin Payne to be the team’s new president, it was clear that the Canadian club was going to be handing full power over to the man who helped lead D.C. United to four MLS Cup titles. Now we are about to find out just what Payne has in store for his new club.
Toronto FC is set to relieve Paul Mariner of his duties as head coach, and will replace him with New Zealand international and former D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen, multiple sources confirmed to SBI on Monday. Nelsen is expected to be introduced as the team’s new head coach
as early as Tuesday (a press conference is expected to be called for Tuesday to make the announcement).
It remains unclear whether Mariner will stay on with TFC in any capacity, but one source tells SBI that Mariner will be leaving the club.
Nelsen does not have previous head coaching experience, but hiring a former player without head coaching experience is nothing new for Payne. He hired Peter Nowak and Ben Olsen as head coaches while with D.C. United. Nowak won an MLS Cup title in his first year as a head coach (in 2004) while Olsen has developed into a quality head coach with D.C. United.
Nelsen is not expected to serve as a player-coach for TFC. He is currently under contract with Queens Park Rangers, and is expected to retire to take on the TFC head coaching role.
Nelsen, 35, will take over a TFC side that finished with the worst record in the league last season, a team that has yet to make a playoff appearance in the club’s six-year history.
The move re-unites Payne with Nelsen, who played for D.C. United from 2001 to 2005 before making a move to England.
Toronto FC started the front office shake-up on Monday with the news that technical manager Bob DeKlerk had parted ways with the club.
What do you think of this development? See Nelsen succeeding as a coach? Think Mariner should have been given a chance to coach the team in 2013?
Share your thoughts below.