The Canadian National Soccer Association has named John Herdman as Head Coach for the Canadian men’s program. Herdman has seen success as the head of the women’s program with consecutive bronze medals in the Olympics.
Herdman will be replacing the terminated Octavio Zambrano as the men’s head coach and will now take on the title of National Head Coach and Men’s Excel Director.
This announcement by Steve Reed on Monday came as a surprise. The President of the Canadian Soccer Association said,
“It was an organizational decision. Octavio’s departed Canada Soccer effective immediately”
When asked about Zambrano’s termination, Reed stated that there were not any incidents that specifically helped make the decision to go with a new coach stating,
“We’re looking at long-term, what we felt was necessary in terms of the development of our programs on the men’s side, and we wanted to build that long-term alignment much like we’ve experienced on the women’s side. When we did that organizational review, we determined that John Herdman was the right person to lead that.”
Kenneth Heiner-Moller awarded Head Coach position for the Women’s Team
Now that Herdman is off to the men’s program, Kenneth Heiner-Moller, a former assistant coach with the women’s program will assume the role as head coach. Heiner-Moller coached the Danish women’s team for 7 years and was a member of Herdsman’s coaching staff during the Olympics in Rio prior to moving to a permanent role.
Canadian National Soccer Association
Herdman, who is 42 years old, took over the head coach position for the women’s program during the summer of 2011 after he replaced Carolina Morace, who under her lead saw Canada finish last during the World Cup held in Germany. This saw the Canadian women’s program in a bad spot, but under Herdman’s direction, eventually saw the team develop younger talent.
Herdman saw Canada achieve a fourth-place world ranking after the team won bronze during the Olympics in 2016. That was the first the Canadian women have been in the top five and while the Herdman was being pegged for the English Women’s team, it was rumoured he preferred to remain in Canada. Herdman has also spoken of returning to coaching the men’s program but had planned on staying put until the Olympics in 2020. Whether Herdman will be the head coach for the 2028 Olympics will be determined closer to 2006.
“I’ve done seven years with the (women’s) team, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it with the group. But I’m a builder, I’m a developer. With Canada Soccer and the rest of the crew we sort of built that program back up from scratch, built the high-performance system, built the talent development system, brought the right people in.”
“I just feel the (women’s) team is there now. They’ve got the players, they’ve got the players to be successful and that’s often the hardest thing to do.”
Coach Herdman will be inheriting a substantial challenge as he is taking over a team who has failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1986. However, with his proven skills, it is expected that he will help the men’s program advance and go to the world stage next year. That of course will be a perfect opportunity for soccer bettors who want to see Canada excel, let alone place bets on Canada as a measure of National pride.
“It’s an exciting time. It really is an exciting time for the men’s game and I think that’s where hopefully my skill sets come in as a strategic thinker, a person detailed with planning who can look towards 2026 but also keep one eye on 2022 — which is what I’ve been doing with the women’s