Ann M Peterson, The Associated Press
Canada Soccer surprised everyone in 2018 when the organization announced that women’s national team coach John Herdman will now lead the men’s team.
Herdmann led women to consecutive bronze medals at the Olympics and had to deal with the pressures of hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Women’s captain Kristen Sinclair, who holds the world record for most goals scored in international matches, responded on Twitter with the comment: “No words for now.”
This decision will be successful in the end. The Canadian men’s team is close to confirming its qualification for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
Canada is at the top of the CONCACAF qualifying standings, ahead of the United States and Mexico. The Canadians are so far undefeated in the final round with seven wins and four draws.
Along the way, the Canadian national team has seen a massive rise in the FIFA rankings, rising from 94th place when Herdmann in 2018 reached 33rd today.
“This team, this programme, we have been through a lot. We have gone through a lot of difficult times and sad results,” said Captain Atiba Hutchinson. “And to get to where we are now, we are a fearless team full of confidence. We are just talking on the pitch now.”
In the latest round robin series, Canada advanced 3-0 to perfection by defeating Honduras, the United States and El Salvador.
Canada resumes its mission on Thursday with a visit to Costa Rica in the first match of a three-match final series. With the win, the Canadian squad will secure their place in Qatar before their final two matches are scheduled against Jamaica in Toronto on Sunday and then in Panama the following Wednesday.
The top three teams in a Round Robin earn their ticket to represent the CONCACAF team at the World Championships. The team that finishes fourth will have one last chance to qualify for Qatar against a team from Oceania in the same position.
Herdman called his team’s research “The New Canada.”
With this mission, there are several primary goals. We are not part of the “New Canada” unless we are really on the cutting edge of this current period. He emphasized that for us internally, we have clear goals that we fully adhere to as we are on the right track. We’re on our way to establishing ourselves in the new Canada as the players said and letting the rest of the world know about it.”
The change of training did not only benefit the men’s team. The women’s team also enjoyed success, winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics last summer under Bev Priestman.
Recognized as a hockey nation, Canada has worked for 20 years to establish itself as a true player on the world football scene.
The adventure really began in 2002, when the country hosted the FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship (which has since become the U-20 Women’s World Cup).
Young Sinclair then scored five goals in the quarter-final against England. His performance caused such a stir that the stands were filled. Over 47,000 people attended the final match against the United States. The attendance record still stands today.
Subsequently, Canada organized the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007. This resulted in $259 million in economic profits. An event that paved the way for the country’s presentation at the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Today the Canadian women’s national team is ranked sixth in the world as it prepares for the 2023 world. This team was founded by Herdmann who took over the reins in 2011.
“If you ever hear these guys from the Canadian team talk, all they talk about is passion, legacy and playing for their brothers and for each other. And these are the things I believe in deeply as well, because I have been fortunate to play under a coach like John Herdman, who is focused on The team is first in everything they do. Now you see that success in the men,” analyzed former Canadian team defensive player Ryan Wilkinson.
But for Team Canada players, simply qualifying for Qatar will not be enough.
“I said it from the start, but these guys are fighting for something so much bigger than a three-point game and qualifying in Qatar, and it has been since I took over the team,” Herdmann said. “We are very clear. It took time for the players to be able to think about That’s it and getting around that common goal, but it’s done now. It’s all very clear.”
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