It’s been nearly four decades since the Canadian men’s national team took part in the FIFA World Cup, and John Herdman believes he’s the one to end that drought.
The CanMNT head coach did not flinch from big expectations and bold proclamations as Canada Soccer unveiled their strategic plan for the next three years on Monday, as he pledged to finally get Les Rouges punching at or above their weight in Concacaf and beyond.
“We don’t have excuses. I don’t want to be that guy making them. At the end of the day if we don’t qualify for , it’ll be a disappointment,” Herdman told reporters at an event at BMO Field in Toronto. “To put that level of expectations on the team is critical. The team wants that, they’re ready for it. They know it’s now or never for many of them.
“So when you say, ‘how do you know it’s going to happen?’ – we have to make it happen. But more importantly, we have to believe, and I think that belief is there from the men who are going to be leading the charge.”
What’s more, he also vowed that the program will kick on and be truly competitive four years later, when Canada co-host the world’s favorite tournament with Mexico and the United States. Herdman alluded to data analysis of the past 20 years that he said shows that Canada have been underperforming at international level relative to the rest of the region, and believes “a commitment to a high-performance culture” can raise the collective levels.
“The 2026 World Cup has brought an acute focus for this organization to do everything in its power to ensure that Canada can compete at that World Cup,” said the Englishman, who took charge of the CanMNT slightly more than a year ago, after a successful six-year stint in charge of the women’s national team.
“The culture is evolving.”