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John Herdman leaves Canada women’s post to become head coach of men’s national team

After 6 years as women’s head coach, John Herdman has taken over as head coach of the Canadian men. (Getty Images)

As part of a major shakeup of the leadership at all levels of Canadian soccer, John Herdman has been named men’s head coach, ending his tenure running the women’s program after six years, two Olympic bronze medals, and a whole lot of positive energy injected into the team. Kenneth Heiner-Møller, who spent eight seasons coaching Denark’s women’s national team and has worked ad an assistant under Herdman,, has been named Herdman’s successor as head coach of the Canadian women’s team. Bev Priestman has been named an assistant and will assume the role of women’s national EXCEL Director for U-15 through U-23.

“We welcome John to this new role as he brings his success aligning Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Program over the past six years and his world-class technical coaching abilities to continue delivering results for Canada Soccer for the Men’s National Team Program,” said Canada Soccer President Steven Reed. “We are pleased to have such a capable successor in Kenneth Heiner-Møller who has been a key part of the technical staff that has seen Canada capture back-to-back bronze medals and rise to its highest-ever ranking of 4th in the world.

The news sent shockwaves through the men’s and women’s fan bases. And the shock was apparently not limited to the fans.

Herdman took over Canada’s women’s program after Carolina Morace went out kicking and screaming about a lack of players after the team failed to earn point at the 2011 World Cup. Herdman instilled an immediate belief in the team and they very nearly defeated the United States in the 2012 Olympic semifinals before taking the Bronze medal with a win over France. The 2015 World Cup in Canada did not go as planned when Herdman’s side crashed out to England in the quarterfinals, but the team rebounded to win another Bronze at the 2016 Olympics.

“Working with Canada Soccer’s women’s program, and the remarkable players and staff who have made the past six years so incredible has been an absolute privilege,” Herdman said. “I am confident the team and entire national women’s team program are in excellent hands with Kenneth and Bev.”

Herdman will have his work cut out for him with the men’s team. Canada have not reached the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying since their only World Cup appearance in 1986. His name was prominent for the vacancy with the English women’s national team but was recently declared out of the running. That job remains open on a full-time basis.


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