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John Herdman

October 24, 2019 by Speakers' Spotlight

How John Herdman’s Philosophy is Transforming Canadian Men’s Soccer

John Herdman is no stranger to adversity. As the former head coach of the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team, John transformed what was once called a “struggling squad” into a champion team. Under his leadership, they won two back-to-back bronze medals at the Olympics, and a gold medal at the Pan Am Games — the first in Canadian soccer history.

Today, we’re seeing John apply the same winning philosophy as the head coach of the Canadian Men’s Soccer Team, who just recently defeated the US team and ended a 34-year, 17-match winless run. He has shared the same winning philosophy with hundreds of our clients through his inspirational keynotes.

So, what’s his secret to success? John doesn’t demand perfection from his teams. Instead he inspires them to just “be good”. Too often, he says, we over complicate our lives and overlook the basic features of what makes us good — not great, but good. John believes that when we’re able to be good consistently at everything we do, it’s this that leads us to greatness.

John’s goal with his teams is to inspire them to live above the line at 80% plus. And it’s this inspiration that has fueled the team to make great strides in their goal of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

CBC Sports spoke to John’s team after their stellar game:

“I think every minute of the day he has a motivational speech,” said a smiling Lucas Cavallini, who scored the insurance stoppage-time goal in Canada’s 2-0 win Tuesday at BMO Field.

“That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re doing important things.”

“Ever since John took over, he’s been focused on changing the identity of Canadian soccer,” added defender Kamal Miller. “And step by step, every camp, we’ve just been getting better and better. We feel like we’re reaching new heights.”

Said teenage forward Jonathan David: “This guy knows what he’s doing … because he has a tactic every game.”

John also spoke with CBC Sports to share how he motivated his players before the big game. In his responses, you can see his commitment to his “be good” philosophy:

As coach, he has a knack of saying the right thing at the right time.

Take Liam Fraser as an example. The 21-year-old came on in the ninth minute, replacing the injured Mark-Anthony Kaye, and delivered a calm, composed performance in his senior debut.

After the game, Herdman shared a conversation he had with the Toronto FC midfielder.

“Only last camp I’m sitting on the stairs with him and the kid’s upset that he can’t see an opportunity coming for his country. And here you are,” he said with a smile.

“Funnily enough on the stairs three weeks ago I said ‘Son, just keep being good and the universe will bring you something. Just keep being good.’ And it did. He got on that field tonight and he did bloody well.”

Prior to leading the Canadian teams, John was the former head coach of the New Zealand Women’s National Football team, as well as New Zealand’s Director of Football Development. While there, he revolutionized how soccer is organized and delivered with his award-winning “Whole of Football Plan”.

In his keynote, John shares his performance-improvement philosophies to help inspire teams, no matter their industry, to go outside one’s comfort zone, reach for the top, and, most importantly, build a high-performance culture.

Providing instantly-usable takeaways, including visualization techniques and goal-setting strategies, we guarantee that John’s talk will inspire and transform your organization for the better.

Interested in learning more about John and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at info@speakers.ca.