John Herdman moves from the Canadian women’s team to the men’s side. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
In one of the most stunning and switches of national team coaches, John Herdman is in and Octavio Zambrano is out as Canadian men’s coach.
Herdman, who had been the women’s coach, took over the men’s side Monday night. He also was named men’s national director.
Zambrano, a former MetroStars coach from 2000-2002 has departed as men’s coach after 10 months on the job.
Asked by Sportsnet on whether Zambrano was fired or he left by mutual consent, Canada Soccer president Steven Reed replied: “It was an organizational decision. He has departed from Canada Soccer. We wish him the best of luck.”
Kenneth Heiner-Møller will take over as women’s head coach and women’s national director after serving as an assistant coach under Herdman since 2015. Bev Priestman will assume the role of women’s national director of the Under 15 through U-23 national sides and women’s national team assistant coach.
It is rare for a women’s national team to switch over the men’s program in the same country or vice versa.
“We welcome John to this new role as he brings his success aligning Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Program over the past six years and his world-class technical coaching abilities to continue delivering results for Canada Soccer for the men’s national team program,” Reed said in a statement. “We are pleased to have such a capable successor in Kenneth Heiner-Møller who has been a key part of the technical staff that has seen Canada earn consecutive bronze medals and rise to its highest-ever ranking of fourth in the world. On behalf of Canada Soccer, we would also like to thank Octavio for his contributions over the past year and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Herdman, who was awarded the 2017 Jack Donohue Coach of the Year Award from the Coaching Association of Canada, has a long history of success with Canada Soccer including two Olympic bronze medals and a sixth-place finish at the 2015 Women’s World Cup Canada in Canada.
Heiner-Møller joined Canada Soccer in 2015 as a technical coach with the women’s national team and served as assistant coach for the 2016 women’s Olympic team.
“It is easy to point to John’s record with Canada to demonstrate his effectiveness as a high-performance coach, in earning back-to-back Summer Olympic medals he’s achieved in team sport something no other coach in Canada has done in over 100 years,” Canada Soccer General Secretary Peter Montopoli said in a statement. “What makes him exemplary though, is his work ethic, his passion, his preparation and his attention to detail. We are looking forward to John bringing his expertise to our men’s national team program.”