The 36-year old Nielsen recently completed his final game as a professional, serving as goalkeeper for Sporting KC in their win over Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013 on December 7. A veteran of nearly 600 professional games, Nielsen brings a wealth of experience to his new position.
“My family and I are excited to take on this new challenge and I look forward to the start of my coaching career in Oklahoma City,” said Nielsen. “To remain a part of the Sporting Kansas City family and to take some of what I have learned from all of my coaches over the years, including Peter Vermes and staff, is an opportunity I embrace.”
Nielsen began his professional career with hometown club AaB Aalborg in Denmark, helping the team to the 1999 Danish Superliga championship. After a brief stint at Leicester City in 2007, he transferred to Danish club Vejle, for whom he made 63 appearances over two years. He was named Danish Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998 and 2004, and also represented his countrty at the U-19 and U-21 levels.
When Nielsen began his MLS career, he instantly became a fan favorite, whose signature bleach-blonde locks earned his the nickname "White Puma.” But it wasn't just his play that endeared Nielsen to fans, though—it was his personality. He was known for stopping his car at local parks when driving by and joining in games with random children. Often, Nielsen would pull kids out of the crowd and have them kick balls at him as part of his pre-game warm-up.
OKC Energy FC is excited and proud to welcome Jimmy Nielsen and look forward to a spectacur new era in professional soccer in Oklahoma City.