The head coach of the Canadian women's soccer team shared his inspirational story of leadership, empowerment and pursuing goals at the Holiday Inn in Pt. Edward Thursday night.
John Herdman, who led the team to a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics this past summer and four years ago in London England, was the keynote speaker at the Bluewater Health Foundation's fourth annual fundraising gala.
"Over the last five years, in my time in Canada, we've done some pretty amazing things on a football field that's transcended into areas of leadership, empowerment and high performance," says Herdman. "I think generally it's an honest account of what's been happening behind the scenes to help this group of women fulfill their potential and move the women's game to another level here in Canada."
Herdman says back in 2012, when the women finished last place in the world cup, was an interesting time.
"The team was broken when I first picked them up and some nine months later we became the first team since 1936, male or female, to medal at an Olympics in a traditional summer sport," he says. "That was what kick started everything that seemed to come after that, which was this massive support for the team and the players, some of them reaching almost rock star-status in Canada."
Herdman says that amplified when they became the first team in 110 years to win back-to-back podiums.
"We've just done some cool things as a group, but the impact has gone way beyond any medal that's been won," he says. "It's been about being inspirational for the grassroots, inspiring those young want to be soccer players to keep them healthy, active and to give them the roll models they need to stay in organized sport."
Foundation Executive Director Kathy Alexander was pleased to have some local female soccer players in attendance.
"We're thrilled that they had the opportunity to hear his message and hope they take that back and translate it into their own game or their own goals and move forward with that," she says.
Alexander says about $80,000 was raised by the event, which will go toward the purchase of a new CT scanner at Bluewater Health, estimated to cost over $2-million.