Soccer-'I'm not going anywhere' - Herdman committed to Canada

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group F - Canada v Morocco - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 1, 2022 Canada coach John Herdman REUTERS/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - John Herdman, who coached the Canadian men's team to their first World Cup appearance in 36 years, said on Wednesday he has received other offers but has no plans to leave his position.

The 47-year-old Englishman, who previously said he planned to remain Canada's coach through 2026, reiterated his loyalty to the program following recent reports he had agreed to take over the New Zealand national team.

"Success at this level will always invite opportunity. I've received several offers in recent months, all of which I have turned down, including an offer from New Zealand Football," Herdman said in a statement released by Canada Soccer.

"To our Canadian players and our fans, I want to reiterate my commitment to Canada Soccer and the growing of this program."

Herdman led Canada to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the national team made their first appearance at the global showpiece tournament since 1986.

Canada exited after three losses in the group stage but they registered two goals and played with a swaggering style and self-belief that showed a sense of belonging.

With expectations higher than ever for the 2026 World Cup, which Canada will co-host with the United States and Mexico, Herdman made clear that he wants to be around for the journey.

"At the World Cup in Qatar, our men showed the world that they belong at that level," said Herdman. "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."

After a coaching stint with the New Zealand women, Herdman took over the Canadian women's team in 2011 and guided them to third place finishes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

In 2018, Canada Soccer made the bold move of handing the job of rebuilding the men's team to Herdman, who brought Canada back to the World Cup for just the second time after finishing top of CONCACAF qualifying ahead of regional powerhouses United States and Mexico.

"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," Canada Soccer General Secretary Earl Cochrane said in a statement.

"Everyone in our organisation is committed to John and his coaching staff and he is the right person to take our country to new heights."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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