Blog

John Herdman

February 15, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight

Women’s Team The Face of Canada’s Soccer Future

Richard Starnes of The Ottawa Citizen recently profiled John Herdman, Head Coach of the Canadian Senior Women’s National Soccer Team:

Imagine this. Canada becomes the darling of women’s international soccer, winning the Women’s World Cup 2015 on home soil. It does so by playing the game as no women’s team ever has — like Spain’s men, like Lionel Messi and his Barcelona pals.

In the process it establishes itself as the team that changed the women’s program forever. And it is enveloped in a massive congratulatory bear hug by a captivated nation.

That’s the vision bouncing around inside coach John Herdman’s head.

Last summer at the Olympics, Canada played the United States in perhaps the best women’s soccer match ever. The Americans won in controversial fashion in the dying seconds, but Canada played a style their rivals had not seen before.

Halfway through the game, veteran U.S. midfielder Lori Lindsay — a substitute on the day — approached Herdman.

“What the hell have you done to that team,” she told him. “I’ve never seen Canada play like that. They played us off the pitch at times.”

That, if Herdman needed it, was confirmation that this was the way forward.

“It was a style of football that says, ‘There’s the future,’ ” he told me.

It is the style he grew up watching at home in Newcastle, the passing game, the ball on the ground with creative players in wide positions. We’re talking Barcelona, we’re talking the back-to-back-to-back Spanish men’s team that won Euro 2008, the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012.

“Imagine us being the first women’s team able to play that way,” Herdman says, his eyes sparkling, his body language filled with self belief. “Then combine that with the powerful Canadian athlete and the precision counter-attacking that’s part of our DNA. Phew! That would be pretty amazing.”

Pretty amazing, indeed. Can any of us remember a coach in any sport suggesting with such modest authority that such an ambitious goal can be reached?

Herdman has a great deal to work on, starting with convincing we Canadians that team results will get worse before they get better. He is pleading for patience and has been smart enough to warn the public honestly and often before the plan is properly up and running.

It is necessary to acknowledge our women’s group has been a golden generation for 10 years, led by the superlative talent of Christine Sinclair. Perhaps that is why, to a damaging degree, development of younger players and their integration into the international squad has lagged far behind.

There has been no room for up-and-comers and without international playing time they wither away. That is why the most important pillar in Herdman’s ambitious scheme is the integration of young talent in the national squad.

As Canada moves to reinvent itself every minute between now and the summer of 2015 is precious.

The coach is lucky to be able to rely on the golden generation for a while longer and he regards them as such a special group that they will, to a player, be eager to pass on their experience. They speak of the thrill of being in the forefront of a culture change for the women’s game. They want to show the world by doing it.

“The key message is that in 2013 and ’14, we will take two steps back,” Herdman said. “We will put the players back in the learning pit and look at some younger ones to see if they fit the new profile. If they are ready, fine. If not, we will stick with what we’ve got.”

That was the message he gave me before Christmas. Since then, he has undertaken his first playing test with three games in the just-completed Yongchuan Cup in China. The team, including seven players making their debuts, finished second, beating China 1-0, losing to South Korea 3-1 and tying tournament winners Norway 0-0. All this without Sinclair — serving a ban over protests following the U.S. Olympic match.

Herdman was pleased. He spoke of some strong passages of play using the new style of pass-and-move, pace and keeping the ball on the ground much of the time. Plenty still to be done, he warned.

While this is gathering momentum, Herdman has issued a second warning. He has discovered the connection between youth and seniors is weak and must change.

The Americans, the Germans, the Japanese, all have such well-established development programs that when Player A begins to fade on the national team, there is a newcomer waiting to step straight in. Hardly a beat is missed because the new players understand the system. They do not need to be re-coached.

The new style under the Herdman plan will begin with the really young. Here’s what he dreams of here.

“I’d like the soccer mom to watch the World Cup and go: ‘Wow. So that’s how they play.’ The ball doesn’t leave the ground, they pass it on two touches. Imagine that with five-, six-, seven-, eight-year-olds. You change the culture for ever.”

So the race is on to astonish the world in 2015. It’s a gigantic, ambitious undertaking and we will be watching closely, remembering of course that our women might take its share of spankings along the way

Not to worry, says Herdman. It’s something to live with for the greater good. “People just stay with us.”

From The Ottawa Citizen, January 20 2013.


Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire you and your staff to take action, be it in your personal lives, your workplace, or both. Read More

Conference Speakers

The Impact of a Speech Can Last Forever

Speakers' Spotlight represents a talented roster of some of the world's most extraordinary conference speakers. Our conference speakers' experience is as broad as it is deep, and they are all leaders in their fields, which include business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our conference speakers are thought-provoking and action-oriented and leave their audiences, whether speaking to a group of 10, 100, 1000 or more, enlightened and inspired.

Speakers' Spotlight's conference speakers frequently go the extra mile to be in touch with meeting planners - or even CEOs and presidents of companies and organizations themselves - in advance of their talks in order to tailor the message and hit on key points specific to the client's needs. Our conference speakers arrive on time, and will have conferred with you in advance to ensure they have everything they need in order to deliver an impactful speech. Our conference speakers frequently use well designed visuals, such as photos, slide shows, or video clips to bring other elements of interest into their talks, and our conference speakers frequently build-in time during their talks to allow for an audience Q&A, ensuring your staff has a chance to ask questions of the particular conference speaker they have just heard.

Some of our conference speakers in high demand include David Chilton, Bruce Croxon, General Rick Hillier, Clara Hughes, Ron James, Amanda Lang, Stephen Lewis, Patricia Lovett-Reid, Mark Kielburger, Kevin O'Leary, Jeff Rubin, and Margaret Trudeau.

Speakers' Spotlight is committed to serving the diverse needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking conference speakers, and we work hard to find the conference speakers that will best meet and exceed your needs. Whatever you require are when it comes to conference speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the conference speakers that are right for you.

Keynote Speakers

Speakers' Spotlight: The Key Ingredient To Finding Your Perfect Speakers

Speakers' Spotlight represents a vast roster of some of the world's most extraordinary keynote speakers in fields such as business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our keynote speakers run the gauntlet from spoken word poet Sarah Kay, to business guru Simon Sinek; from young athlete Olympic athlete Adam van Koeverden to the wrongly incarcerated former boxer Ruben Carter; from Margaret Trudeau to her son Justin Trudeau. Whatever your needs are for your keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight the keynote speakers that will fill them.

Our keynote speakers can adjust their talks to suit your needs, whether you're looking for an address by keynote speakers of 15, 30, or 45 minutes or more, our keynote speakers will confer with you before your engagement to ensure that their talks meet your needs. Our keynote speakers frequently adjust their speeches to include important talking points your organization or company needs emphasized, and will also often adjust content so it is individually tailored to your audience. For instance, if your audience is primarily those in the auto industry, our keynote speakers will draw on anecdotes from that industry in order to ensure their speech is relatable. Our keynote speakers are usually available in the days and weeks prior to your event to discuss your needs and go over any details (such as audio visual requirements) that arise.

Speakers' Spotlight is committed to meeting the different needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking keynote speakers, and we work hard to find the keynote speakers that will provide the best match for your event. Whatever you require are when it comes to keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the keynote speakers that are right for you.

Motivational Speakers

Motivating the world

Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire leaders and employees to take action, be it in their personal lives, their workplace, or both. Speakers' Spotlight's motivational speakers address everything from encouraging audiences to adapt healthy lifestyles to unifying groups to achieve professional goals. Our motivational speakers work with an astonishing range of companies in sectors such as science, technology, finance, advertising, and manufacturing, as well as professional organizations, cultural institutions, and non-profit entities and government, throughout North American and around the world.

Motivational speakers that work with Speakers' Spotlight frequently go the extra mile to be in touch with meeting planners - or even CEOs and presidents of companies and organizations themselves - in advance of their talks in order to tailor the message and hit on key points specific to the client's needs. Our motivational speakers arrive on time, work with the client in advance to ensure the proper set up of their audio/visual needs so that everything will go smoothly when they hit the stage, and often include Q&A sessions in their talks so that your staff can ask any questions of our motivational speakers that they may wish.

Using Speakers' Spotlight to book your motivational speakers obviously offers many advantages. You reap the benefits of our experience and expertise, as we can help you select the best motivational speakers for your motivational speakers' engagement.

Our motivational speakers include prominent motivational speakers - and many of them household names -- such as Roberta Bondar, Michael "Pinball" Clemons, Terry Evanshen, Scott Harrison, John Izzo, Simon Jackson, Craig Kielburger, Dr. Samantha Nutt, Simon Sinek, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Brett Wilson.

Whatever your needs are when it comes to motivational speakers, Speakers' Spotlight has the motivational speakers that will both meet -- and exceed -- your expectations.

Zync is a marketing agency specializing in corporate brand identity and responsive web design.