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Toronto FC president Payne: NZ veteran Nelsen is a great leader

Ryan Nelsen has 'made a study of leadership' according to Toronto FC president Kevin Payne.

The New Zealand veteran has accepted the role as head coach at the Canadian club, reuniting with Payne who was involved at DC United when Nelsen skippered the Washington club to the 2004 MLS Cup.

Nelsen is still contracted to Queens Park Rangers but will soon step into the role at the BMO Field, which has been vacated by Paul Mariner, and Payne is thrilled to have the qualities of such a man to lead the Reds.

"When I met him for the first time, he came across as incredibly mature and sure of himself but in a humble way, very confident but with a lot of humility," Payne said, who remembers Nelsen reading a book on advanced soccer tactics back in his DC days.

"You just don't see players reading stuff like that. You rarely see coaches reading stuff like that, unfortunately.

"Ryan is a guy who has made a study of leadership. He pays attention to what great leaders do, and that is very unusual, too. A lot of players who are great leaders are just instinctively great leaders.

"I think Ryan has actually thought about it and that, combined with his personal qualities, has made him a great leader."

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