News today that England has fired long-time women’s head coach Hope Powell has some fans in Canada nervous.
That’s because John Herdman is an Englishman, one who charmed a lot of folks back home last summer when he coached Canada past Team GB and on to a medal at the Olympics. One journalist went so far as to call him the Jose Mourinho of women’s football, based on his charm, tactical abilities and, one assumes, his ability to make small talk with a Wayne Rooney puppet.
That last bit is a stretch, but then again so is comparing Herdman to Mourinho. If the English press do one thing well it’s hyperbole, so expect these rumours to heat up.
Herdman is a desirable candidate. The English would be silly not to put a feeler out to the CSA about his availability. The question for Canada is: is there enough if a pull here to keep him around?
Although readers may not want to hear it the answer to the question is maybe.
That’s better than an outright no, but ambiguous enough to cause some stress to those inclined to believe that bad things always happen in Canadian soccer.
The good news is that he’s under contract until the end of the 2015-16 cycle. The CSA is under no obligation to allow him to talk to England during that time.
Also positive is that he appears to have settled into Canadian life well. He’s recently moved his family to Vancouver and was hired by TSN to do some studio work during the recently completed Womens Euro 2013 tournament.
Of course the biggest positive is the fact that the 2015 World Cup is here. Not many managers get the opportunity to manage the host nation in a World Cup. It would seem a bit rash to give up that opportunity, especially since England is could struggle even to make the tournament.
Still, the cynical Canadian fan will worry. It’s England, right? The Three Lions, home of football and all that. Surely the call of the homeland will be too loud for Herdman to ignore.
For its part the CSA isn’t saying anything. The official stance is that they don’t comment on rumours. Fair enough, that’s pretty common PR policy.
It might not hurt though for them to try and get in front of the story. Otherwise you’re going to have panicked fans and confused potential investors. The next year will be crucial for the CSA as it pushes for corporate money for the World Cup and they will want their best salesman to be out on front of the camera. With all due respect to Christine Sinclair or any other player, no one on the team can come close to Herdman on the charisma front.
The CSA needs him. In fact, he might be the single most important in Canadian soccer right now.
When you take a step back and critically evaluate whether Herdman might leave there are very few reasons for him to do so. He’s still young. If England is truly an ambition then the opportunity will likely come around again in his career.
Money might be the only thing England could use to pry him out of the Canada job. Herdman is suspected to make somewhere south of $300,000 a year now. If the English offer considerably more the CSA might have a tough question to answer.
However, this is all speculation for now. The search to replace Powell has just started. Instead of worrying about losing Herdman, Canadian fans should focus on the fact that, for once, they have someone in demand.