Former All White Ryan Nelsen among the award winners in US college football

Former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen has shared in a regional coaching award after a successful first season with Georgetown University’s men’s soccer programme in Washington DC.

Led by Georgetown’s head coach Brian Wiese, the coaching staff of Nelsen, Connor Klekota, and Brian Bouhl have been named the 2023 United Soccer Coaches East Region Coaching Staff of the Year.

The Region Staff of the Year honours are chosen through a vote of their peers, and the 26 men’s and 26 women’s award winners will be recognized at the College Coaches Awards Ceremony at the United Soccer Coaches Convention on Thursday January 11, 2024, in Anaheim, California.

The Region Staff of the Year recipients will also be placed on the ballot for National Staff of the Year judging within their respective NCAA division.

Nelson (46) joined the Georgetown University men’s programme in August.

The men’s team, known as the Hoyas, were Big East regular season champions for the fourth consecutive year.

“I’ve known Ryan since he played at Stanford when I was an assistant coach there, and in my 28 years of coaching I would rate him as one of the best leaders I’ve ever come across,” Wiese told the university’s website.

“He has played in the World Cup and extensively in the EPL, and his experiences as a player and a coach will be a great addition for our programme. He’ll be a wonderful mentor for our players this fall.”

Nelsen played 49 internationals for New Zealand, as well as making eight appearances at Olympic Games. He captained the All Whites at the 2021 FIFA World Cup Finals in South Africa, and his professional playing career included stints with Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rovers.

In 1998, he moved to the United States on a university scholarship, playing for North Carolina’s Greensboro College in the NCAA and later transferring to Stanford University for his final two years of college soccer. At Stanford, Nelsen was named MVP as a junior and an All-American his senior season.

Drafted fourth overall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United, Nelsen spent four years with the club where he played a key role in bringing the team its fourth championship. During his tenure at D.C. United, he made 81 appearances, posting seven goals and five assists. He served as team captain from 2003-05 and was twice named as MLS’s Best XI.

After seven years playing in the English Premier League, Nelsen accepted an offer to become head coach of Toronto FC in 2013.

Off the pitch, Nelsen has stayed active in athletics on the tech side serving as executive chairman for Roar Basketball/Rugby and director of SportInvest US LLC.

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