|Full name||Ryan William Nelsen|
|Date of birth||18 October 1977|
|Place of birth||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Current club||Toronto FC
|2012–2013||Queens Park Rangers||21||(1)|
|2008–2012||New Zealand Olympic||8||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 January 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Nelsen commonly played as a defender, and his professional career began in 1995. He notably captained the New Zealand national team, the All Whites and started his professional soccer career in his native country for Christchurch United. In 2001 he joined MLS side D.C. United and went on to play 81 times in the league, scoring 7 goals. In 2005 he moved to England with Premier League side Blackburn Rovers where he scored 8 times in 172 appearances. In 2012 he made a move to Tottenham Hotspur but only managed 5 appearances before joining Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2012. He agreed to return to MLS on 8 January 2013 by signing with Toronto FC as Head Coach.
Early life 
Nelsen was born in Christchurch. After attending Our Lady of the Assumption primary school and St Thomas of Canterbury College, he moved to the United States to play for Greensboro College in North Carolina in 1997. After spending two years at Greensboro and leading The Pride to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III championship match, only to lose to Ohio Wesleyan University, he transferred to Stanford University where he played his final two years of college soccer. He was named Stanford's Most Valuable Player as a junior and an NSCAA All-American as a senior while playing as a defensive midfielder. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science.
Club career 
Christchurch United 
Serendipitously, Nelsen – then twenty – was home for a semester's sabbatical from his university soccer scholarship with Greensboro College in the United States. He had already completed three or four seasons with Christchurch United before he went to the USA.
DC United 
Nelsen was drafted fourth overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United, with whom he spent four years in Major League Soccer (MLS). After emerging as a starter in 2002, Nelsen was named team captain in 2003, replacing Marco Etcheverry in that role, as well as winning the team's Defender of the Year Award and being named to the league's Best XI. He was named to the Best XI again in 2004, after captaining DC to its fourth MLS Cup. In four years in MLS, Nelsen scored seven goals and added five assists.
Blackburn Rovers 
Nelsen was signed by Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer in January 2005, shortly after the completion of the 2004 MLS season. In the summer of 2005, after just six months at the club, Nelsen signed a new three-year contract after impressing manager Mark Hughes and helping to turn Blackburn's defence into one of the stingiest in the Premiership. Nelsen was successfully awarded a work permit on appeal after the initial application had been refused due to New Zealand being ranked outside the top seventy in the FIFA World Rankings.
In the 2005–06, Blackburn qualified for the UEFA Cup with a sixth place finish, but Nelsen missed the last couple of games after breaking his foot in a 2–0 win at Charlton Athletic. Nevertheless, his performances since arriving in England prompted much interest from rival clubs including Portsmouth, whose bid for Nelsen was rejected by Blackburn. On 1 February 2006, he started and played the full ninety minutes alongside then Andy Todd in a 4–3 league victory over Manchester United at Ewood Park.
Nelsen was dealt another blow before the start of the 2006–07 season, with a serious hamstring injury forcing him out until the new year. On his return to the team in an FA Cup fourth round win at Luton Town, he was immediately made captain. In July 2007, he signed a new five-year deal with the club up until the summer of 2012. He scored his first league goal for Blackburn with a header against Wigan Athletic on 26 April 2009 in a 2–0 win. He then scored his second Premier League goal against Portsmouth with a header from a corner taken by David Dunn on 7 November 2009, and has also scored goals against Birmingham City and Fulham. On 11 April 2010, Nelsen came on for the injured Chris Samba against Manchester United at Ewood Park in a 0–0 draw. Nelsen made his 175th appearance for Blackburn Rovers, captaining the team in a 3–2 defeat to Everton at Ewood Park on 17 April 2010. In all competitions, Nelsen made a total of thirty-three appearances, and scored four goals, for Blackburn in 2009–10.
On 13 November 2010, he scored for Blackburn against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane for his first goal of the 2010–11 Premier League season. On 27 November, he played the full ninety minutes partnering Christopher Samba, but this time in a disastrous 7–1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford. He then added his second and third goals of the campaign by scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 4 December in a 3–0 win and against West Ham United on 18 December in a 1–1 draw.
With Blackburn's tenth successive Premier League season (and their seventeenth in nineteen seasons) now underway, Nelsen has welcomed the club's proposed takeover by Indian owned Venky's Group who has promised up to £100 million for Sam Allardyce to spend on strengthening the squad – with Nelsen feeling that the squad could do with "freshing up." On 15 January 2011, he made his 200th appearance for Blackburn in the away game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Nelsen signed a two-year contract extension with Rovers in late January 2011 which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2013. Under Steve Kean as manager following the sacking of Sam Allardyce, Nelsen was relieved as team captain of Blackburn in favour of Christopher Samba, Nelsen moving to vice-captain. Nelsen suffered a knee injury forcing him to miss the rest of the 2010–11 season. Following 2010–11 season, in which Blackburn avoided relegation, Nelsen recovered from the knee injury and made one appearance against Aston Villa in a 3–1 loss.
Tottenham Hotspur 
Nelsen was signed by Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer on 2 February 2012, to replace defender Sébastien Bassong, who joined Wolves on loan. He was given the number 33 shirt. He made his debut for Tottenham on 11 February 2012 in the Premier League match against Newcastle United, when he replaced Ledley King in the seventy-fourth minute.
He scored his first goal for Tottenham Hotspur on 27 March 2012 in the seventy-fourth minute of an FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers F.C. in a replay of a previous game, due to Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba having a cardiac arrest in the first tie. Tottenham Hotspur won the match 3–1 that day.
On 25 May 2012, he was released by Tottenham with fellow January signing Louis Saha. He made eight appearances scoring one goal.
Queens Park Rangers 
On 18 June 2012, it was announced that Ryan Nelsen had signed a one-year deal with Queens Park Rangers. He scored the first goal with Rangers against Wigan Athletic heading the ball equalising the score to 1–1.
It was announced on 8 January 2013 that Nelsen had signed for Canadian MLS side Toronto FC as the club's new head coach. However, he remained under contract with QPR and was in negotiations with their management regarding his release to take up the Toronto position.
It was announced on 22 January 2013 that Nelsen would play his last game for QPR against Manchester City at Loftus Road on Tuesday 29 January and will join Toronto FC on 1 February. He played his last match for Queens Park Rangers on 29 January in a 0–0 draw against English champions, Manchester City, and was given a guard of honour by his team mates after the game.
International career 
Nelsen made his New Zealand All Whites debut against Poland on 19 June 1999. Although he has been selected to play on numerous occasions, Nelsen had not represented New Zealand between his last appearance in 2004 and 2008 due largely to a recurring hamstring injury. Nelsen captained the New Zealand U-23 squad for their first appearance at the Olympic Games against China. Although he was only available for the opening two matches as Blackburn had requested that he return in time to prepare for their opening Premier League game of the 2008–09 season against Everton. Nelsen captained the All Whites side as they qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, beating Bahrain in a two-legged playoff in November 2009.
On 15 June 28 years to the day after New Zealand made their first appearance in a FIFA World Cup Finals, Nelsen captained New Zealand to their first ever point in a FIFA World Cup Finals match in a 1–1 draw with World Cup debutants Slovakia. On 24 June, Nelsen again skippered the All Whites in a 0–0 draw with Paraguay, but New Zealand were knocked out of the group stages.
Coaching career 
On 8 January 2013 Nelsen accepted an offer to become head coach of Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. He started on 1 February in time for Toronto's pre-season. Nelsen won his first game as a head coach in the home opener against Sporting Kansas City in a 2-1 victory on 9 March, with both goals coming from newly acquired striker Robert Earnshaw. On 7 May 2013, he secured the services of fellow New Zealander Jeremy Brockie on loan from Wellington Phoenix.
Writing career 
Nelsen and New Zealand author Tony Smith co-wrote the book Ryan Nelsen's Road to the World Cup.
Career statistics 
Club career statistics 
- As of 30 January 2013
|Queens Park Rangers||2012–13||21||1||1||0||2||0||–||24||1|
International goals and caps 
New Zealand's goal tally first.
Managerial statistics 
- As of 9 May 2013
|Toronto FC||8 January 2013||Present||12||2||4||6||13||21||−8||16.67|
OFC Nations Cup: Champion (2002,2008). Third Place(2004)
- FA Cup Semi Finalists
- 2005, 2007
See also 
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Football heroes congratulated on honours – tvnz.co.nz". Television New Zealand. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "New Years Honours: Full 2011 list – nzherald.co.nz". The New Zealand Herald. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "QPR defender Ryan Nelsen named new manager of Toronto". BBC Sport. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Hall, Matthew. "Kiwi Captain Learned Premier League Defense in M.L.S.," (The New York Times soccer blog), Friday, 19 March 2010.
- "Blackburn 2–0 Wigan". BBC. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "Big Sam needs some cash". The Sun (London). 30 August 2010.
- "New deal for Nelsen".
- "Nelsen Leaves". rovers.co.uk. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "Spurs sign Nelsen from Blackburn". RTE Sport. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "NELSEN COMPLETES MOVE". Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "Stevenage FC vs Tottenham LIVE Commentary". goal.com. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Nelsen hails winner Hughes as defender links back up with old boss at QPR". Daily Mail. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Nelsen quits EPL to coach in Canada". 3 News NZ. 8 January 2013.
- Millson, Larry. "Full-time job: Nelsen set to take reins at TFC on Feb. 1". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "A-International Lineups". The Ultimate New Zealand Soccer Website. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
- Ryan Nelsen Profile at NZ Soccer
- "Rover Ryan Returns". New Zealand Football. Archived from the original on 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- "Olympic Football Squads Named". New Zealand Olympic Committee. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
- "All Whites World Cup squad named". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- "World Cup Best XI".
- Larson, Kurtis (8 January 2013). "TFC introduction of Ryan Nelsen as head coach met with skepticism". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- "Ryan Nelsen's long and winding road". One Sport. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- Ryan Nelsen
- Ryan Nelsen | Blackburn Rovers | Team | 1st Team Profiles
- Ryan Nelsen – FIFA competition record
- NZ Football Profile
- Ryan Nelsen career stats at Soccerbase
- Ryan Nelsen at the MLS Official Website
- Ryan Nelsen at rovers.co.uk
- Qpr Profile