National U-20s midfielder Jay Herdman: ‘The three coaches who’ve helped me’

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Midfielder Jay Herdman says he’s got three coaches to thank for his emergence as a key player in the New Zealand side heading to the FIFA U-20 Mens World Cup in Argentina this month.

They are:

  • National U-20 coach Darren Bazeley

“He wants me to be very attack-minded and to be a game-changing type of player,” Herdman has told

“He wants my first thoughts to be, ‘Can I get forward and can I get a goal?’. It’s nice to hear a coach saying, ‘Whenever you get the ball, try to make something happen’.”

  • Former United States international Ricardo Clark, reserve team coach at Herdman’s Whitecaps club

“Ricardo is great. He gives you freedom and always allows you to be yourself.”

  • His dad, Canada’s national team head coach, John Herdman

“Mentally (if I need help) he will give me advice or, after my games, if I ask how I played, he’ll send me a little paragraph.

“He knows pretty much everything, so I can always rely on him when I’m stuck or at a low point.”

Former Football Ferns coach and current Canada national men’s team coach, John Herdman.Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Herdman: Aiming high at the U-20 World Cup

Herdman (18) is eligible to play for New Zealand (where he was born), England (his parents’ birth country) and Canada (where he’s lived since he was eight).

But he says opting to align with New Zealand was an easy decision, saying the country of his childhood is a “special place.”

Herdman said he and his New Zealand teammates aim to become the first Kiwi side to progress past the last 16 at the U-20 World Cup.

“Firstly, we have to get out of the group stage,” Herdman told

“That’s a really big goal. If we can win our first game, that will put us in good shape. I feel we have a good chance against Guatemala. Uzbekistan look really good but I feel we can beat them. Then there’s Argentina, and we’ll see what happens there!”

Main photo: New Zealand’s Jay Herdman playing for New Zealand U-22 against China at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium in March. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

READ MORE: Herdman out to be New Zealand’s game-changer at U-20 World Cup >>>>


New Zealand are in the same group as hosts Argentina, and Guatemala and Uzbekistan at the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup, due to start on May 20.

READ MORE: Coach Darren Bazeley announces squad for FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup >>>>

READ MORE: Argentina name strong squad to face New Zealand at FIFA U-20 World Cup >>>>

READ MORE: New Zealand to face six-time winners Argentina at FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup >>>>

READ MORE: Fixture schedule announced for FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in Argentina >>>>

Game to be played on Saturday May 20, 2023 (local time)

Guatemala v New Zealand
Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estoro

Check out the stadium for New Zealand’s opening game:

Game to be played on Tuesday May 23, 2023 (local time)

New Zealand v Uzbekistan
Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estoro

Game to be played on Friday May 26, 2023 (local time)

New Zealand v Argentina
Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan

The 25,000-capacity Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, where New Zealand will play Argentina. Photo credit: Enrique Guardia.

Full tournament schedule

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