John Herdman leaves Canadian national coaching job for MLS franchise

Former Football Ferns coach John Herdman has stepped down from his role as Canada’s men’s head coach to take up a job with Major League Soccer franchise Toronto FC.

Herdman leaves the national job despite having three years left on his contract with Canada Soccer, which would have taken his tenure to the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

Herdman’s departure concludes a 12-year spell with Canada’s women’s and men’s national teams in which he oversaw 101 ‘A’ internationals as head coach of the women’s national team and 58 ‘A’ games as head coach of the men’s team.

Canada Soccer president Charmaine Crooks said:

“John Herdman is the most successful head coach in the history of Canada Soccer.

“From leading the women’s national team to back-to-back Olympic bronze medals, paving the way for their gold medal in 2020, and to leading the men’s national team back to the FIFA World Cup, John’s contribution to the game in Canada is unmatched.

“We would like to thank John for his immense contribution to the game in Canada and wish him the very best in his new role at Toronto FC.”

Herdman told Canada Soccer’s website:

“I am grateful for the incredible opportunity to have represented Canada for the past 12 years, for the moments I’ve been able to share with the players, the staff, and the supporters

“I arrived from New Zealand in 2011 with the aim of changing the game in our country, and I have been able to form many deep connections, through experiences in London 2012, a home World Cup in 2015, Rio 2016, World Cup qualification in 2022 and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“The goal was always to leave the game in a better place, and I’m confident that goal has been achieved for Canada.”

How Canada Soccer farewelled national coach John Herdman. Credit: Canada Soccer.

Herdman’s New Zealand links

Herdman has been publicly linked with other roles since last year’s FIFA Men’s World Cup, where he coached Canada.

He was reportedly NZ Football’s favoured candidate for the All Whites job left vacant by Danny Hay, and since filled by Darren Bazeley.

Englishman Herdman moved to New Zealand in 2001 and worked for Football South and NZ Football in coach development roles.

Specialising in women’s football, he led the U-20 squad to the 2006 World Championships and the U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2010. He took the Football Ferns to the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup finals, and to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

On the pitch, he also turned out as a midfielder for Hibiscus Coast in the Lotto NRFL second division.

Herdman’s son, Jay, is a New Zealand U-20 international and plays in the MLS for Vancouver Whitecaps.

READ MORE: Our previous stories about John Herdman >>>>

Herdman’s achievements

Women’s national team

  • 1st Pan American Games gold medal (2011)
  • 1st Olympic medal (bronze, London 2012)
  • 1st Back-to-back Olympic medal (bronze, Rio 2016)
  • 1st Top 4 FIFA Ranking (2016)
  • FIFA Most Improved Team (2016)
  • FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year nomination (2012, 2015, 2016)
  • CANWNT Most wins and goals in a single season (2016)

Men’s national team

  • 1st Men’s FIFA World Cup qualification in 36 years
  • 1st Men’s FIFA World Cup goal
  • 1st Place Concacaf World Cup Qualification
  • 1st Top 30 FIFA Ranking (2022)
  • 1st Concacaf Nations League Finals
  • FIFA Most Improved Team (2021)
  • FIFA Most international goals scored (2021)
  • CANMNT most goals scored and least goals conceded in World Cup Qualification (2022)

‘I’m motivated by impacting positive change’

Explaining his departure, Herdman said:

“As much as the past 12 years have meant to me, I know myself well and know that I’m motivated by impacting positive change and by the challenge of leading a team or an organization towards change on a significant scale.

“Having worked with some incredible people to impact the women’s and men’s national teams to make real progress and achieve success, it’s time to move on and let others lead the team moving forward.”

Four support staff will also leave Canada Soccer.

Assistant coaches Simon Eaddy and Eric Tenllado, lead scout Alex Dodgshon and Head of Performance Dr Cesar Meylan.

Interim General Secretary Jason deVos said:

“Having worked closely with these individuals behind the scenes, I have experienced first-hand the value they have brought to Canada Soccer. I want to thank them for the countless hours they have given to Canada Soccer and wish them all the best in their new endeavours.”

More football stories