Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Head Coach John Herdman Encouraged as Qualifying Nears for Rio Olympics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Head Coach John Herdman Encouraged as Qualifying Nears for Rio Olympics

Article excerpt

Herdman encouraged as Rio qualifying nears

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John Herdman doesn't want his players to forget their World Cup pain.

The Canadian women's national team was left bitterly disappointed this summer after crashing out of a tournament the hosts felt was there for the taking, losing 2-1 to England in a heartbreaking quarter-final.

Six months later and with preparations already well underway for 2016 Olympic qualifying, Canada's head coach hasn't sensed a World Cup hangover, but rather a renewed belief.

"I don't think you move past something like that," said Herdman. "You have to move through those things. You have to reframe. You have to look at the things that worked well for us that we were really happy about. And you have to look at other aspects where we need to grow."

With that in mind, Canada just wrapped up a four-team event over the weekend in Brazil that saw the squad finish second after losing the final 3-1 to the hosts.

Herdman brought a mixture of youth and experience to South America following a training camp in Vancouver, with teenagers Kennedy Faulknor (16), Deanne Rose (16), Gabrielle Carle (17) and Marie Levasseur (18) all making their full international debuts.

"What stood out was the performances of the team in some of the games where you really did get to see the quality that we could have moving forward," Herdman said in a telephone interview from Brazil. "The senior players have cultivated a culture where these kids can come in and really play in all phases."

As has been the case for some time, speed and scoring were among the areas where Canada was lacking at the World Cup. Herdman is hopeful that some of the new blood will help.

"I think the team is comfortable that we've got strategy and structure down," he said. "It's now bringing that alive -- that winning mindset and just leaving everything out on the pitch every time. …

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