Many felt that it was only a matter if time until John Herdman was coaxed away from the Canada job to take over England.
He is a native son, the English media loved him and, surely, there would be far more resources in England than in the hinterland that many see Canada as.
So, yesterday’s news that Herdman had extended his contract with the Canadian Soccer Association all the way through to 2020 came as a surprise.
It shouldn’t have. Herdman had never expressed any desire to leave Canada, nor any concerns about the support he was being provided by the CSA. In fact, he had expressed how much he was enjoying the opportunity and lifestyle in his new home of British Columbia.
The only hesitation, likely, was compensation. Not that Herdman is driven by money — those close to him go out of their way to stress that he isn’t — but he does have a family to think of. No one would ever judge him for financially taking care of his family if the (assumed to be coming) English offer was significant.
However, Canadian fans no longer have to worry about that because the CSA stepped up and made sure that he’d be taken care of here. That he’s prepared to stay through an additional World Cup/Olympic cycle is significant and a major coup for Canada.
The CSA is often criticized. Much of the criticism is based on how the organization used to do business. However, the handling of the Herdman situation demonstrates that there has been significant changes in how they operate.
If this were a decade ago there is no doubt they would have let him walk; today, however, there is a new found commitment to success and there was no way the CSA was going to lose the asset that is Herdman.
They deserve full and unqualified praise for locking him up.
NOTES: Canada also announced a hone friendly with Mexico. Scheduled for Nov. 24 in Vancouver, it will mark the first return to that city for the Canada women’s national team since the highly successful Olympic qualifying tournament in January 2012.
The CSA is meeting with the NWSL this week to discuss the first year of their partnership. Look to next weeks View from the North for details of that meeting.