John Herdman to stay on as Canada men’s soccer coach despite offer from New Zealand

John Herdman to stay on as Canada men’s soccer coach despite offer from New Zealand

Canadian coach John Herdman during a World Cup match against Morocco, December 1, 2022. CARL RECINE / Reuters

John Herdman stays put.

After a morning of speculation fueled by a New Zealand report that Canada’s men’s soccer coach had agreed to take over the 105th-ranked All Whites, Herdman and Canada Soccer put out the fire with a statement on Wednesday.

“Success at this level will always invite opportunity,” Herdman said in a Canada Soccer statement. “I have had several offers over the past few months, all of which I have turned down, including an offer from New Zealand Football.

“To our Canadian players and fans, I would like to reiterate my commitment to Canada Soccer and the growth of this program. At the World Cup in Qatar, our men showed the world that they belong at this level. I’m not going anywhere. We still have work to do and the goal is to take this team to the next level in 2026.”

Earl Cochrane, general secretary of Canada Soccer, has confirmed that Herdman is under contract until the 2026 World Cup which Canada is co-hosting.

“There is no doubting the passion and commitment that John and his coaching staff have invested in our Men’s National Team program, taking our away men to our first World Cup in 36 years,” Cochrane said. “Everyone in our organization is committed to John and his coaching staff and he is the right person to take our country to new heights.”

Herdman’s record at the helm of the Canadian men is 32-13-5 since leaving the women’s program in January 2018. And his light shines after a World Cup that saw Canada earn a legion of fans after showing his losing potential against elite opposition in Belgium. , Croatia and Morocco in Qatar.

Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis says Herdman’s recently presented plan for the future of Canada’s men has been “welcomed” by the organization’s board.

“We’re all looking forward to John being our Men’s National Team Coach throughout his contract,” added Bontis.

The report on Newshub, a New Zealand news service, said Herdman was “the preferred candidate” to take over the New Zealand men and that he had agreed to the terms, although he said no contract had not yet been signed.

Herdman has ties to New Zealand, where he cut his teeth as a coach before taking charge of the Canadian women’s team after the 2011 World Cup.

Herdman quit his jobs as a university lecturer and at the Sunderland academy in his native England to become regional director of football in New Zealand.

In 2006, after four years in his regional development role, New Zealand football signed him and Herdman made a name for himself, first with the women’s under-20 team and then with the senior.

Canada’s offer to coach the women’s national team with the allure of a home World Cup prompted another move around the world.

His son Jay was born in New Zealand and is a young New Zealand international.

But barring a career change due to family or lifestyle, leaving a thriving Canadian men’s team with a home World Cup on the horizon for the New Zealand national team seemed like overkill.

Herdman is no stranger to surprises, however.

In January 2018, Canada Soccer announced that Herdman was leaving the women’s program to take over the men’s role and replace the fired Octavio Zambrano, who had been named head coach the previous March.

Steven Reed, then president of Canada Soccer, said the decision was made because “we wanted to build this roster for the long term, much like we did on the women’s side.

“When we did this organizational review, we determined that John Herdman was the right person to lead this.”

When asked in Qatar if he would stay with Canada until the 2026 tournament, Herdman said he was staying the course.

“Eleven years of working in this country and I’ve been a pioneer for a long time, and you won’t find anyone as passionate as I am about this program or these players or these staff,” Herdman told a news story. conference in Doha. “You won’t find one so passionate about taking the country to the next level. And you won’t meet anyone who has had that moment with this team – and the learning I will take from it for the next one.

But Bontis acknowledged in November, ahead of the World Cup, that Herdman was in demand, calling him “a very, very sought after commodity”.

“We want to keep him here, 100% until 22 and 26,” Bontis told “Behind the Bench,” a weekly coaching webcast presented by the National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada (NSCAC).

He then added a caveat.

“But I am realistic and I am pragmatic. I can’t guarantee anyone on this call that John will stay with this organization. There are certain realities that exist, certain professional aspirations that people have. Some financial implications we have and limitations.

Herdman was able to bring the Canadian men’s and women’s programs to life, leading the women to the Olympic podium and the men to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.

After taking control of the women following a disastrous 2011 World Cup, he helped the team reach an all-time high of fourth in the world rankings after back-to-back Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016.

It has also changed lives.

Former goaltender Karina LeBlanc, now general manager of the NWSL Portland Thorns, credits Herdman for helping her expand her horizons outside of the sport.

“He basically said to me, ‘If you think your purpose on this earth is to kick a soccer ball for Canada, then I’ve let you down. You have something that’s more than sports'” , she recalls.

“And that triggered me. And it made me wonder, ‘Why am I here? What is my purpose in this world? LeBlanc went on to work as a UNICEF ambassador, media personality, motivational speaker and FIFA and CONCACAF representative before taking up her post in Portland.

After reviving the women’s team, which died out in spectacular fashion to finish last in the 2011 World Cup, Herdman took on an even tougher challenge by resurrecting a moribund men’s program – ranked 94th in the world, sandwiched between Gabon and the Faroe Islands, when he took it over.

Men reached new heights under Herdman.

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