Herdman reiterates loyalty to CanMNT, addresses rejected New Zealand offer

Amid swirling rumours, Canadian men’s national team coach John Herdman released a statement affirming his commitment to Canada Soccer and the current men’s program he leads.

Reports had begun to emerge from local media in New Zealand that Herdman had agreed to terms to become their men’s national team’s new manager, but it appears he has actually rejected the All Whites’ offer.

“Success at this level will always invite opportunity,” Herdman said in his statement. “I’ve received several offers in recent months, all of which I have turned down, including an offer from New Zealand Football.

“To our Canadian players and our fans, I want to reiterate my commitment to Canada Soccer and the growing of this program. At the World Cup in Qatar, our men showed the world that they belong at that level. I’m not going anywhere. We still have a job to do, and the objective is to take this team to the next level in 2026.”

Herdman has been at the helm of Canada’s men’s team since 2018, leading it through the qualification process for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar — where Canada made its first appearance at a men’s World Cup since 1986. Under Herdman, Les Rouges finished top of the table in Concacaf qualifying, defeating traditional powerhouses Mexico and the United States in the process.

The 47-year-old from Consett, England, took over from Octavio Zambrano at the helm of Canada’s men’s side, having spent seven years previously as the head coach of the Canadian women’s national team. He led that side to back-to-back Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016, and he was at the reins of their appearance in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil.

Herdman had previously managed New Zealand’s women’s national team from 2006 to 2011 before taking over the Canadian women’s job.

Canada Soccer executives, General Secretary Earl Cochrane and President Nick Bontis, also voiced their support for Herdman and confirmed his loyalty to the program, explaining that he remains under contract as men’s national team coach until the end of the 2026 World Cup.

“John is under contract with the men’s national team through the FIFA 2026 World Cup co-hosted by Canada, USA and Mexico,” Cochrane said. “There is no doubt how much passion and commitment John and his coaching staff have poured into our Men’s National Team program, taking our men from outsiders to our first World Cup in 36 years. Everyone in our organization is committed to John and his coaching staff and he is the right person to take our country to new heights.”

Bontis added that Herdman has recently shared his long-term vision with Canada Soccer:

“The Canada Soccer Board of Directors has full confidence in John Herdman,” Bontis affirmed. “John presented the men’s national team plan for 2023 at our Board meeting this past weekend and it was received favourably by the Directors. He also described longer-term plans for 2024 and 2025 for which we were all supportive. We all look forward to having John be our men’s national team head coach throughout the term of his contract.”

The Canadian men’s national team is currently slated to return to the pitch for the first time since the World Cup this coming March, when it will take on Curaçao and Honduras in a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches.