Canada national team must "earn the trust" of skeptical fans, says Herdman

John Herdman, Canada - yelling

Things are looking up for the Canadian national team, with another World Cup cycle beginning soon and an exciting generation of young talent rising through the ranks.

With painful memories of previous failures still hanging over the program, plenty of hard work remains, however. And head coach John Herdman has acknowledged as much in the runup to Les Rouges’ next match, a Concacaf Nations League qualifier vs. Dominica at Toronto FC’s BMO Field on Tuesday (7 pm ET).

“It’s a process. We have to keep earning the trust of the fans, we have to keep [convincing] them to want to buy tickets and turn up,” Herdman said in a Friday conference call with reporters.

“It’s a time thing. I don’t think we expect fans to just jump on board because we have some new players. This is a process, to earn the trust of people and bring back or even create a new audience of people with our performances.”

The CanMNT have not reached the FIFA World Cup since their sole appearance in 1986, and have endured a woeful litany of qualification failures over the past several cycles. As a result of their shortcomings in the 2018 cycle, they’re currently navigating a long path through the new Nations League format and eventually – they hope – into the Gold Cup and on to the road towards Qatar 2022.

Success against minnows like Dominica can build a track record to inspire confidence both in themselves and from their supporters, says the charismatic Herdman.

“What Nations League is going to do for us is give us some consistency in matches that are meaningful that the fans can come and support. Nations League next year in 2019,” he explained. “When we make it in there, we’re going to play [top Concacaf nations] – big games where we should be selling out stadiums, and all it takes is for us to cross that line once.”

This and more can be found in Sportsnet’s full report on the CanMNT outlook from John Molinaro; read it here.