In a shocking development that has major implications for both the Canadian men’s and women’s soccer programs, John Herdman has replaced Octavio Zambrano as coach of the national men’s team, effective immediately.
Canada Soccer confirmed to Sportsnet on Monday that Zambrano has departed, and that Herdman, who has served as the coach of the Canadian women’s team since 2011, will take control of the men’s side. Herdman has also been named the Canadian men’s national team program director. In his new role, Herdman will take over responsibility for all the national youth teams, from the under-14 age level and up, all the way through to the national senior team.
Kenneth Heiner-Møller will take over as Canadian women’s national team program director and head coach – Heiner-Møller has been an assistant coach under Herdman since 2015. Also, Bev Priestman will assume the role of National EXCEL Director U15-U23 and women’s national team under-20 coach, as well as women’s national team assistant coach.
“We felt as an organization that we needed to make some decisions for the longer term and our long-term philosophy, looking at growth of the men’s national team program and the youth development program. In terms of that review, we determined that we had the ideal candidate internally in John Herdman,” Canada Soccer president Steve Reed explained in a one-on-one interview with Sportsnet.
“We thought now was the time to look to John to lead the men’s program and emulate what he’s done with the women’s program.”
Asked to characterize the terms of Zambrano’s departure, whether he was fired or he left by mutual consent, Reed said: “It was an organizational decision. He has departed from Canada Soccer. We wish him the best of luck.”
Reed declined to give any details on Herdman’s contract with the men’s team, only that it was a multi-year deal, but you have to think it’ll at least carry through Canada’s qualifying campaign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Canada is also in the running to co-host the 2026 World Cup with the United States and Mexico.
“We have some significant developments coming up, and from an organizational perspective we viewed John as being the person who can take leadership in that role, and move us towards what we want to do, and that’s qualify for the next two World Cups,” Reed said.
Born in England, Herdman was awarded the 2017 Jack Donohue “Coach of the Year” …read more