John Herdman Departs National Team to Awaken the MLS Sleeping Giant

The news took many Canadian soccer fans by surprise: John Herdman, the man who led the Canadian men’s national team back to the World Cup after decades of waiting, has decided to chart a new course in his career by accepting the challenge of coaching the Toronto FC in the MLS. This move marks a significant turning point in the Canadian soccer landscape and raises intriguing questions about the future of the sport in the country.

Herdman: A Dual Leader

John Herdman’s legacy in Canadian soccer is remarkable, and his accomplishments cannot be underestimated. He not only guided the men’s team back to the World Cup but also played a crucial role in the success of the women’s national team, leading them to Olympic bronze medals and a strong showing in the Women’s World Cup. His ability to lead both teams is a rare and commendable feat, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the sport in Canada.

The Challenge of the MLS

However, the move to the MLS, specifically to a Toronto FC team that has faced recent struggles, is a significant challenge. With a record of 3 wins and 13 losses, the worst in the league, Herdman faces a herculean task. Pressure and expectations will be high, and his ability to turn around Toronto FC’s performance will be a critical test of his coaching talent.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – JULY 09: Canada manager John Herdman gestures in the technical area during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal match against United States at TQL Stadium on July 09, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Dean/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Impact on the National Team

The lingering question is how this transition will affect the national team. With the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, Canada will face significant challenges in Herdman’s absence. The search for a new coach and the adaptation to their playing philosophy could be complex, and players may miss Herdman’s consistent leadership on the field. However, this is an opportunity for the Canadian Soccer Association (Canada Soccer) to demonstrate its long-term planning ability and ensure that the national team continues on the right path.

John Herdman’s decision to take the helm of the Toronto FC is bold and risky but also exciting. It represents a shift in the Canadian soccer landscape and brings significant challenges for both the coach and the sport in the country. Regardless of the outcome, Herdman’s passion and commitment to soccer in Canada are undeniable, and his journey ahead, now in the MLS, will be followed with great interest and expectations. History is being written, and Canada eagerly awaits to see what the next chapter will hold.