The new man in charge at Toronto has wasted no time in making a big splash, if reports are true of a ground-shaker of a move about to happen around BMO Field.
Soccer By Ives has reported that Ryan Nelsen, who was playing English Premier League Soccer just a few days ago, will become the new manager at Toronto (where coaching careers go to die … but never mind that for now.)
The report is here. It says Nelsen will be named as early as Tuesday.
So the club’s new president, Kevin Payne, is “all in” here. It’s a bold play from the former, longtime D.C. United president. Not that it was all that hard to see coming, although I had speculated it was as an assistant to TFC manager Paul Mariner.
What this means for Mariner was initially unclear; as the story unfolded through Monday afternoon, the news looked increasingly bleak for Steve Nicol’s former, longtime assistant at New England. Apparently, he won’t be staying around in any capacity.
Remember that Mariner was the club’s technical director, in charge of player acquisition initially. Then he stepped into the managerial chair late last spring after the club finally gave up on Dutchman Aron Winter.
The question now … have things gotten better at Toronto, or is this just the next act in the theater of the wacky for Major League Soccer’s second most dysfunctional club. (Thank goodness Chivas USA is still around to keep everyone else off the bottom, eh?)
Nelsen was always a highly respected figure as a player, but that doesn’t always translate into managerial ability. Hence, the risk here.
Payne hired Ben Olsen at D.C. United with no prior managerial experience, and that one has turned out pretty well. On the other hand, Payne’s two previous hires at RFK Stadium (Curt Onalfo and Tom Soehn) turned out significantly less successfully.