Canadian Soccer Association names John Herdman as head coach of women's team
John Herdman in a file photo from Friday, June 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Published Thursday, September 1, 2011 3:12PM EDT
TORONTO - John Herdman was named head coach of the Canadian women's soccer team on Thursday.
Herdman, who was born in England, has previously served as head coach of New Zealand's women's team and national director of football development. The Ferns are currently ranked 24th in the world.
Herdman replaces Carolina Morace, who resigned after Canada's disastrous performance at the World Cup in Germany.
"This is a massive country with just huge potential," Herdman said Thursday on a conference call. "I think there's a massive appetite there for people to succeed, the players and the fans. So when that sort of appears on the horizon ... ears perk up and become quite interested."
The Canadian women were ranked sixth in the world and had sky-high expectations when they began the World Cup on June 26. Their dreams crashed when three losses resulted in a first-round exit.
Canada managed just one goal during the tournament and has since dropped to eighth in the world rankings.
Herdman arrived in New Zealand in 2003 and took on the role as coach development manager for New Zealand Football. He led the women to the 2006 U-20 World Cup before being named head coach of the senior team in 2007.
Under Herdman the Ferns have appeared in the last two Women's World Cups. At this summer's competition in Germany, New Zealand had two losses and a tie.
New Zealand also advanced to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing where the team was 0-1-2.
Peter Montopoli, the Canadian Soccer Association's general secretary, said last week a new Canadian coach would be in place before exhibition games against the U.S. on Sept. 17 and 22.
"We are pleased to welcome a world-class coach like John Herdman to the Canadian soccer community," Montopoli said.
Morace turned in her resignation in July during an internal review. Under the 47-year-old Italian's guidance the women had a 25-11-5 record.
The CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament will be held in Vancouver in January. The tournament will attract eight teams including Canada, Mexico and the United States, plus three from the Caribbean and two from Central America.
The top two countries earn spots in the London Games.
The 2015 Women's World Cup will be held in Canada. The tournament will feature 24 teams, an increase from the 16 that competed in Germany.