John Herdman departing as CanMNT head coach, Biello taking over as interim

Canada Soccer announced on Monday afternoon that John Herdman will depart his post as head coach of the Canadian men’s national team. He will be taking on a new role as head coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC.

Mauro Biello, who had been an assistant coach under Herdman since 2018, will take over as interim coach.

Herdman had been in charge of the men’s side since January 2018, coaching 58 games in total for a record of 36-8-14. Under his guidance, Canada qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, appearing at a men’s World Cup finals tournament for the second time in program history and the first time since 1986.

The 48-year-old native of Consett, England was the second longest-tenured coach in men’s national team history, and recorded more wins (36) than any other manager Canada have had.

“I am grateful for the incredible opportunity to have represented Canada for the past 12 years, for the moments I’ve been able to share with the players, the staff, and the supporters,” said Herdman in a statement.

He added: “I’d like to thank the men’s national team players — without being part of the team, it’s difficult to understand the sacrifices, the pain and the amount of work that has gone into achieving what has been achieved over the past five years. The level of trust and belief that we have developed over that time, and the tightness of the brotherhood that we have today is something that I will always treasure and something that I’ll miss, for sure. 2022 was only the start of the team’s own journey and I’ll be excited to watch as the team goes on to even greater things, as individuals and as a group.

“As much as the past 12 years have meant to me, I know myself well and know that I’m motivated by impacting positive change and by the challenge of leading a team or an organization towards change on a significant scale. Having worked with some incredible people to impact the Women’s and Men’s National Teams to make real progress and achieve success, it’s time to move on and let others lead the team moving forward.”

During World Cup Qualifying in 2021 and 2022, Canada finished top of the table in Concacaf’s eight-team final round, going unbeaten on home soil and recording historic victories over both the United States and Mexico. Herdman also coached Canada at three Concacaf Gold Cup tournaments, going as far as the semifinals in 2021, and he also led them to the final of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League earlier this summer.

The men’s national team currently sits 43rd in the FIFA World Rankings, making them the third-highest-ranked team in Concacaf.

(Photo: Nora Stankovic/OneSoccer)

Prior to taking over the men’s program, Herdman was head coach of the Canadian women’s national team from 2011 to 2018, guiding them to back-to-back bronze medals at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, setting a foundation that helped them en route to winning gold at Tokyo 2020.

Herdman was also previously manager of the New Zealand women’s national team from 2006 to 2011.

Biello, who takes over as interim, has plenty of experience as a coach, having been manager of the Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal) in MLS from 2015 to 2017. In addition to his duties as an assistant under Herdman, he has also been head coach of several Canadian youth sides recently, including the U-20 side at the most recent Concacaf championship.

Canada Soccer also indicated that assistant coaches Simon Eaddy and Eric Tenllado, as well as lead scout Alex Dodgshon and head of performance Dr. Cesar Meylan, will be leaving the team as well.

A timeline for appointing Herdman’s successor has not been indicated, although a search for a new permanent head coach will begin immediately. Canada Soccer’s statement added that Herdman will continue working with Biello throughout September to help with the transition.

“John Herdman is the most successful head coach in the history of Canada Soccer,” said president Charmaine Crooks. “From leading the Women’s National Team to back-to-back Olympic bronze medals, paving the way for their gold medal in 2020, and to leading the Men’s National Team back to the FIFA World Cup, John’s contribution to the game in Canada is unmatched. We would like to thank John for his immense contribution to the game in Canada and wish him the very best in his new role at Toronto FC.”

The men’s team’s next fixture is Oct. 13, when they travel to Niigata to play an international friendly against Japan. The next competitive matches scheduled will be in November, when Canada play in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League quarter-finals, hoping to qualify for the 2024 Copa América.

John Herdman celebrates Canada’s qualification for the 2022 World Cup (Canada Soccer by Martin Bazyl)