Toronto takes Canada's coach, International window next week: Starting Lineup, August 29
by Jason Longshore
1- John Herdman has stepped down from the Canadian men's national team to take over as the new manager of Toronto FC. "It's the right time for me to step into a new challenge in my career, and the structure of a club environment is a context I've aspired to operate in," Herdman said in a statement published by the club. He has never worked in a club, having managed New Zealand and Canada's women's national teams prior to taking over the Canadian men's team. He didn't play professionally either, so it will be very interesting to see how he adapts to the day-to-day environment that will be very different from his experiences in the game. Toronto is a mess with reports of Lorenzo Insigne walking off the training pitch last week, Federico Bernardeschi reportedly linked to quite a few clubs, and only three wins out of twenty-six league matches. It would be quite the accomplishment for Herdman to get everything fixed and become only the second manager to have true success in The 6 after Greg Vanney. He'll have lots of learning to do on the job when he starts October 1.
Don't forget, Herdman nearly left the CSA when he was managing the women's national team and that's what led to his surprise appointment as the men's national team manager. He threated to leave for a possible opportunity to take over as the England women's national team manager. He wanted to take over the Canadian men's national team and the CSA didn't want to lose him so he got the job after they quickly fired Octavio Zambrano after only nine months on the job.
2- What's next for the Canadian Soccer Association after this setback? I can't remember a World Cup host losing their manager less than three years away from playing in a World Cup to a club gig. Mauro Biello will take over on an interim basis, but does Canada actually have the funding to attract an experienced manager? Another person in an interim role, the interim general secretary of the CSA Jason deVos, floated the idea of the organization declaring bankruptcy. They are not playing any men's friendlies in the September international window because of a lack of funds. The Canadian women were eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in 12 years and have had their own battles with the CSA. Both national teams are currently without full collective bargaining agreements.
The women's national team is back into the spotlight this fall as they have a qualifying series to play with Jamaica for a spot in the Olympics next summer.
3- There's a FIFA international window starting after this weekend's matches and news is starting to come out about some of the squads. Vinicius Júnior will miss Brazil's first two World Cup qualifiers due to a hamstring injury, he'll miss matches against Bolivia and Peru. André Onana ended his international retirement to join Cameroon for an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Burundi. Cameroon needs a result to qualifying for the tournament, which will be played in February 2024.
4- Spanish regional soccer chiefs demanded RFEF boss Luis Rubiales resign for grabbing and kissing World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, as the country's caretaker government promised on Tuesday to ensure women play a bigger role in running sports. (Reuters)
5- Inter Miami started construction on Miami Freedom Park, the club announced Monday. They are on track to move in during the 2025 season. The new stadium will be located near the Miami International Airport. "With Inter Miami, my family set out to build something truly transformational. In just four years we have changed the perception worldwide of American soccer. As we commence construction of Miami Freedom Park that same vision guides us,” Jorge Mas, Inter Miami’s managing owner, said in a release.
6- Speaking of Miami, Tata Martino said yesterday that he is expecting Lionel Messi to return to the starting lineup on Wednesday night as the Herons host Nashville. He came off the bench in the second half of Saturday's 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena, scoring the second goal.
7- Last night after a delay of over two hours, Georgia State's men's team defeated UAB 5-1 at the GSU Soccer Complex. Former Northview HS star Ethan Sassine, who missed 2022 due to injury, scored twice in the first half. Simon Carlson, Tom Williams, and Evan Schroeder completed the Panthers' goal tally. Next up for Georgia State is a trip on Friday to face Memphis on ESPN+ at 7pm.
8- After receiving reassurances, Inter are now ready to sign Benjamin Pavard after receiving the green light from Bayern Munich. The deal will be for more than $30M and has been in the works for a while. Inter are hoping to get everything finalized so Pavard can be part of the squad this weekend against Fiorentina.
9- Tom Bogert reports that Orlando has turned down an offer from Turkish club Samsunspor for forward Ercan Kara. The Turkish window remains open later than most in Europe, it closes on September 8. Orlando isn't looking to sell according to Bogert. We'll see if an improved offer comes to test that.
10- On this date in 1971, Henry Largie scored the Atlanta Chiefs' only goal in a 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium to the New York Cosmos. It was the regular season finale and Atlanta had already clinched the division championship. They would face the Cosmos in the league semifinals just a few days later, a series which Atlanta won.
11- On this date in 1994, Oasis released their debut album "Definitely Maybe". One of the best debuts ever, it spent 177 weeks on the UK chart. One of my all-time favorite concerts, I had the chance to see them when they came to Atlanta for the first time a few months later at the Masquerade. Here's the album opener from one of their early US shows in Chicago, it's your Song of the Day: