Soccer – Coach Herdman takes Canada to new heights – sports

Soccer - Coach Herdman takes Canada to new heights - sports

DOHA (dpa) – It would be an exaggeration to say that at some point football may have saved John Herdman’s life. Still, it’s fair to say that things would have been a little different if it weren’t for the national sport of his homeland.

Instead of making history with Canada’s national team on the world’s biggest stage, the smart 47-year-old probably ended up in the northern English gutters of Newcastle or Sunderland.

Herdman was about 16 when his tiny little world came crashing down. The steel factory in County Durham closed, his parents divorced and his father, who had always taken him to the Newcastle United stadium as a boy, developed serious mental problems. “Those were two tough years, things could have easily gone in a different direction,” Herdman says. “And you know, starting as a coach saved us.” From then on it was an incredible journey: “I’ll probably write it one day and I hope people enjoy reading it.”

How adolescence has shaped Coach Herdman to date

Still a teenager, Herdman moved into council housing on his own, attended his first coaching seminars, and laid his hands on a book by American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. This period has shaped him till date. Herdman sums up his approach to life: “Don’t ask for anything, don’t take anything from anybody, just keep going. Just keep going. I have a very strong will. And if I’m convinced of something , I would give my life for it.”

Herdman, who is only 1.65 meters tall, does not shy away from unusual routes to achieve his goals. Having only played football for the university team, he didn’t really get a chance in England due to his work at the Sunderland Academy. So he flew to the other side of the world and took charge of the women’s national team in New Zealand. Five years later, the smart coach, who is said to have great motivational skills, moved to Canada. With the women’s soccer team, she won bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Then the association parted ways with its men’s coach four years ago. They wanted a fresh start, a start with more depth, with more background – so Herdman was offered the job and given complete power. UK is responsible for all Canadian national teams up to U14. The bigger target was actually the home World Cup in 2026, but the team has already managed to qualify for the tournament in Qatar.

Canada wants to enjoy the World Cup in Qatar

This success has put the overly ambitious Herdman to rest. Because now they don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Apparently there were some skeptics who didn’t believe he was successful because he had previously worked exclusively with women at the top level. “I had a huge desire to prove them wrong. I have to let it go now because it’s just unhealthy,” Herdman says.

He and his team want to enjoy the World Cup in Qatar. It might as well be better. Canada participated in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and was eliminated in the preliminary round after finishing bottom of the group without goals or points. They came very close to scoring the first goal against Belgium, but Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies missed a penalty. Now he must get to work against Croatia on Sunday. Coincidentally, Herdman also started the Olympic tournament in London 2012 with a loss, in the end the Canadian women won the match for third place.

The national players were not happy about losing their coach for the men. Mutual respect is still immense. “This guy has something that not many coaches have and that is the ability to really connect with players and get the best out of them. He’s an incredible motivator. You can’t learn that, it’s a gift.” ,” says former-International Melissa Tancredi. The 40-year-old is also certain Herdman’s Team Canada will also make history in Qatar, at least with the first point: “John is made for these tournaments. He’s been through it all, he knows the pressure.”

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