• Duane Rollins

      Covering the world’s game from a Canadian perspective, the 24th Minute has been at the forefront for Toronto FC coverage since 2008. It is the source for breaking news, analysis and all things Canadian soccer.

    • Michael Crampton

      Mike Crampton has been an avid follower of Canadian club soccer and participant in the emergent Canadian soccer supporters scene for over a decade. When not playing, watching, or writing about the game he continues to serve the grassroots as an administrator at the local level. You can follow Mike on Twitter @BHTC_Mike

    • James Grossi

      James began covering the game in 2011 after a slow process of two decades saw him gradually consumed by it. He contributes to The Shin Guardian, Waking the Red, and had a piece featured in Issue Two of The Blizzard, as well as maintaining his own site, Partially Obstructed View. He covers the rest of MLS in the hope of providing context to fans on the edge.

    • 2012 Canadian Soccer News Awards: Person of the Year



      All good sports stories share certain similarities.

      Redemption – adversity must have been overcome.

      Villains – for there to be good there must be bad.

      The underdog – The protagonist must not be highly favoured to succeed

      Unexpected success – the story must end in triumph.

      The 2012 Canadian Soccer News Person of the Year meets all four of those criteria.

      Yes, it was quite the year for John Herdman. The Englishman, who came to Canada via New Zealand, led the Canadian women from the depth of despair following the 2011 World Cup, to become the darlings of the nation in winning Olympic bronze in London.

      He was a breath of fresh air following the final days of Carolina Morace (winner of the 2010 CSN Person of the Year, it must be said). Morace quit on the women and shamefully walked away from players who had shown her remarkable loyalty prior to the World Cup disaster. She left the team in shambles, an emotional mess that would have been lucky to qualify for the Olympics, let alone win a medal there.

      When Herdman was hired many criticized the move. It was said that he was too inexperienced, would employ "long ball" tactics, was not famous enough and that the CSA had gone cheap again in hiring a guy from New Zealand (in the early days, Herdman was almost always referred to as a New Zealander).

      It turned out to be genius. Whereas Morace was a great coach who led the Canadian program out of the dark ages tactically (and thus was fully a justified pick for the ’10 Person of the Year), Herdman was a leader.

      He inspired the women and prepared them in a way that they had never been prepared before.

      In the past Canada hoped it could win. Under Herdman it believed it would win.

      Beyond the results on the pitch, Herdman also integrated himself into the country in a way that Morace never did. When he dropped to his knees at the end of the bronze medal game you knew it was sincere. When he hugged his kids following that game they were wearing Canadian kits. His accent may be Geordie, but he has a lot of hoser in him already.

      Obviously, you can never really know what someone is thinking, but it certainly seems like he cares about the future of the game here.

      The overall package is what tipped the scales in favour of Herdman over the only other candidate that was considered – his star player, Christine Sinclair. Ultimately, Sinclair’s brilliance is still mostly contained on the field. It was felt that Herdman’s reach extends beyond the pitch and he will more directly influence the next generation of Canadian women than Sinclair will. Herdman's influence will be pragmatic and technical, whereas Sinclair's will be inspirational.

      It’s telling that when the Americans embarked on their search for a new coach that Herdman’s name was mentioned in more than a few informed places. He likely remains the most respected young manager in the women’s game.

      He’s a treasure that the CSA needs to keep and a deserving choice for our 2012 Person of the Year.
      Comments 6 Comments
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Agreed!!!
      1. cwell's Avatar
        cwell -
        Good choice. Bad choice in 2010: Morace was not a "great coach". She was brassy, which caught people's attention. That's the end of it, as we learned subsequently; her behavior at the WC was deplorable.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        You're just an MLSE shill!
        Hehehe

        I think this is a great selection Duane, and mentioning that Morace was selected in the past helps to also point out that you are not a person that is obsessed with the men's game, but look at the sport as a whole.

        Keep it up.

        (Hope the 'shill' comments makes you think of the warmer days of summer)
      1. squizz's Avatar
        squizz -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        I think this is a great selection Duane, and mentioning that Morace was selected in the past helps to also point out that you are not a person that is obsessed with the men's game, but look at the sport as a whole.
        For what it's worth (possibly nothing), while the year-end awards are a carryover from the days when The 24th Minute was its own separate entity, the CSN Awards as currently constituted are a collective decision by the various writers at this site (including yours truly).

        Yes, I'm trying to steal some of Duane's glory.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        It was mentioned in a few interviews with some of the players, and of course they can't say anything too bad, but I agree with what they said, which is; they had good (some might say "ok") coaches in the right order, until Herdman. What I mean is, Morace did make them a better team. Not good enough to compete with the rest of the world, obviously. But better than they were with Even. The way I see it, she helped bring a certain professionalism and discipline they didn't have before.
        Now, of course, Herdman is a different class altogether. He just seems the perfect fit, and it's like there's absolutely nothing he doesn't think of. I hope we can keep him for a long time.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Good use of the word brassy. I'm completely jealous.

        All three foreign coaches were part of the puzzle and it was the recipe that made us successful. Because of her results in Germany Carolina Morace is the least recognized, but she's a tragic character in the the story and produced consistent results for a long period in the lead up. But if anyone is responsible for professionalizing the program it's Pellerud. He'd been in back to back World Cup finals before he arrived here and brought with him that program and experience and set about implementing it.

        The difficult part is the summer's result was chaotic and serendipitous as it usually is. Full credit to the CSA for their selection process, but the grand scheme wasn't a recipe inasmuch as an outcome. There was a healthy degree of Brigadoon and MacArthur Park to it. The job now is to reproduce the magic according to a structured plan and fast-track the process. Difficult enough without taking into account everyone else on the planet attempting the same thing, including quite a few with significantly higher resources and raw materials.

        It's a good thing there's two and a half years until 2015, because there's 10 years of work to do to get there.
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