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Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen has tapped into his New Zealand connections and hired Duncan Oughton as an assistant coach.

The 35-year-old Oughton leaves the Columbus Crew, where he was the assistant technical director and assistant coach.

Oughton played 10 years for Columbus, becoming the longest-serving player in the club's history before retiring after the 2010 season.

He earned 27 caps for New Zealand from 2002 to '09, and played alongside Toronto rookie coach Nelsen, who claimed 49 caps for the All Whites from 1999 to 2012.

"It is crazy when I look back at the last 12 years – more than one-third of my life – and remember all the great times and the thousands of amazing people I now call my friends in Columbus," Oughton said in a release. "I have the chance to work with an old friend and ex-New Zealand teammate whose coaching career is just taking off and cannot pass up this opportunity."

Oughton, one of the Crew's most popular players, was selected 10th overall by Columbus in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft. He appeared in 136 matches and logged more than 9,000 minutes, while scoring three goals and recording 13 assists.

He joins a Toronto FC team that has had a frustrating early season, taking a 1-4-4 record – ninth in the Eastern Conference – into Wednesday's game at San Jose.

"Duncan knows the league inside and out, and what it takes to be successful in the league," Nelsen said. "I've known him for many years and I know he will be a great addition to the fantastic staff we have here at Toronto FC."

Oughton joins assistants Fran O'Leary, Jason Bent, Jim Brennan and goalkeeping coach Stewart Kerr, on Nelsen's staff.