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36 Years in the Making: John Herdman Leads Canada to the FIFA World Cup

36 Years in the Making: John Herdman Leads Canada to the FIFA World Cup

For the first time since 1986, Canada has qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar — a feat credited to the impact John Herdman has made as the head coach of the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team.

Under his leadership, Canada has reached its highest-ever FIFA world soccer ranking, coming in at 33, and clinched their spot for this year’s World Cup after their 4-0 win against Jamaica on Sunday, March 27. It’s been four years since John took over the role as head coach with the promise that this exact moment — Canada qualifying for the 2022 World Cup— would happen. It was his unshakable belief and attitude that Canada is a “football” country, as he calls it, that drove his quest for Qatar and inspired his team to reach these new heights.

“We’ve got Canadians playing at all levels in Europe and we got Canadians going to the World Cup. We’re a football country, that’s all we’ve ever wanted, we wanted that respect, we wanted people to believe that we’re a football country, and we are now. We’ve proved it,” John said in a post-game interview with Sportsnet.

This isn’t the first soccer miracle John has performed. He was the head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team for six years, transforming what was once called a “struggling squad” into a champion team.

Under his leadership, the women’s team won two back-to-back bronze medals at the Olympic Games, and a gold medal at the Pan Am Games — the first Pan Am gold in Canadian soccer history. He essentially jumpstarted their path to gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Now John has performed the same transformation with the men’s team. He took what was a defeatist culture and rebuilt it from the ground-up, never wavering from his goals of transforming the squad into a World Cup contender, qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, and being a competitive team when Canada co-hosts the tournament in 2026.

In a post-game analysis on Sunday, the TSN Soccer panel analyzed John’s coaching style, calling it the highest level of professionalism and perfection that you can find in soccer. They also credited John with elevating the sport of soccer within Canada, for both the women’s and men’s team.

And this is just the beginning. As John told Sportsnet, “We’re coming, we’re only getting started here.”

“They are some of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met,” John continued. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Christine Sinclair and those boys are up in that class. We’ve got great Canadians in this country and they’re leading our country in sport. What a privilege it’s been as a coach and I’m proud for all of these people here.”

Watch the full Sportsnet interview here.

As a keynote speaker, John Herdman shares his winning leadership philosophies, exploring the importance of vision, passion, and discipline in achieving success, whether it’s on the field or in the office.

Interested in learning more about John and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].