WASHINGTON, D.C. - D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen was named by New Zealand national team coach Mick Waitt to the 23-man roster for Oceania Nations Cup play. Nelsen will report to camp in Adelaide, New Zealand on May 26. The "All Whites" enter the Nations Cup tournament - which also serves as the qualifying tournament for FIFA World Cup 2006 - in the second round.
"We wish Nellie the best of luck with New Zealand in this initial phase of World Cup qualifying," said United technical director Dave Kasper.
Nelsen, who currently has 31 caps, will miss United's matches on May 29 (at New England) and June 5 (at Chicago) as a result of the call-up. The tournament, hosted by Australia, is scheduled for May 28 to June 6. The winner and runner-up of the tournament will face off twice in late 2004, to determine who will have the opportunity to represent Oceania in a playoff with a South American side to qualify for Germany 2006.
Nelsen, 27, has led the Black-and-Red as team captain since 2003. He has started every match in 2004 for D.C. The Kiwi defender was chosen as United's sole representative to the 2003 MLS All-Star Game, held in Los Angeles. Nelsen was named the team's ADT Defender of the Year as well, for his outstanding play in United's backline.