By IVES GALARCEP
Queens Park Rangers defender Ryan Nelsen is widely-regarded as one of the best defenders to ever come out of Major League Soccer, and now, some eight years after he left D.C. United to play in England, Nelsen could be heading back to MLS.
The Daily Mail got the ball rolling on a rumored Nelsen return to MLS, stating that Nelsen would come back to join the D.C. United coaching staff. Sources tell SBI that Nelsen is actually in talks with Toronto FC, where a move there would re-unite him with former D.C. United president Kevin Payne.
Nelsen, 35, has endured a tough season with last-place Queens Park Rangers, and with the club poised to be relegated at season’s end Nelsen could be ready to make the jump back to MLS.
A move into coaching makes sense for Nelsen, and TFC is in the market for an assistant for Paul Mariner. Toronto could also be tempted to have Nelsen take on a player-coach role, though the team does have a crowded stable of centerbacks that should only get more crowded after the 2013 MLS Draft (TFC has two of the first three picks in a draft with two outstanding centerback prospects projected in the first three picks). There is also the matter of whether TFC would have to offer compensation to D.C. United, the last MLS club Nelsen played for before moving to England.
Adding an accomplished defender like Nelsen as an assistant coach could prove to be a master stroke, particularly given the fact Toronto FC has some talented, young centerbacks on the roster like Doneil Henry and Gale Agbossoumonde. TFC is also expected to add at least one more in the draft. Having a respected player like Nelsen on the coaching staff to groom those defenders could prove invaluable.
What do you think of this development? Like the idea of Nelsen coming back to MLS as a coach? Hoping he finds a way to also suit up?
Share your thoughts below.