Herdman to begin reviewing the NWSL 16 in July; hopes for Canadian NWSL teams by 2015 By Steven Sandor Posted on June 6, 2013 1 0 540 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter John Herdman PHOTO: CANADA SOCCER/PAUL GIAMOU The job reviews begin in July. That’s when national women’s team coach John Herdman will begin to assess the 16 NWSL players whose contracts are being paid by the Canadian Soccer Association as per an agreement with the league. In a conference call Thursday, Herdman said he will soon start looking at what players will remain part of the program in 2014, and which ones will lose their funding. Those final decisions will come in October or November. All of the 16 players are on one-year deals, so they can be easily replaced. “It’s perfect for us,” said Herdman. “It’s quite healthy that we can have a revolving door.” With some young Canadians getting set to graduate from NCAA programs, there will be competition for the 16 slots in 2014. “I expect some changes will be made, that’s par for the course,” said Herdman. Herdman didn’t address this in the call, but some interesting scenarios could be created. For example, if Christine Sinclair, Canada’s all-time leading scorer and already-NWSL star, is so important to the league and to the Portland Thorns, does she need the protection of a CSA contract? Or would it be safe to assume that Portland would be happy to keep her on, and her CSA spot could be vacated for a young player who might need the, ahem, government protection? Herdman made it clear he isn’t tied to the NWSL — he expects that goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe, who plays in Sweden, will get called back for a national-team look-see sometime this year. But, what he does want is the Canadian players to be in the top leagues in the world. And if that’s not the NWSL, it’s Germany or Sweden. Even though Lyon is one of the top sides in the women’s game, Herdman said the French league as a whole hasn’t progressed to the point where it can be compared to Germany, Sweden or the potential in NWSL, which is in its inaugural season. “If you’re not playing in the top-tier leagues, the perception is that you haven’t made t and that you’re not ready for international football,” said Herdman. “We can’t accept that kind of mediocrity, of having players playing in Iceland or in Spain or in Italy…” And the Canada schedule allows the players to have time to flourish in NWSL. Canada will face Germany on June 19, but then don’t play again till Oct. 30, when Edmonton plays host to a friendly which sees South Korea’s team come to our country. After that game, the Canadian women’s team convenes in Vancouver for a four-month camp. That schedule allows the Canadian NWSL players the chance to focus their summers on the league. NWSL Expansion Herdman says that if the NWSL can prove it can be financially viable, he’d love to see a Canadian team or teams in the league by 2015, the year this country hosts the Women’s World Cup. “To have a couple of teams in Canada, that would be what the country is crying out for,” he said. Our big players playing at home, and playing weekly, there’s a market for that.” Of course, the hype over last Sunday’s Canada-U.S. friendly at a sold-out BMO Field is Herdman’s proof of that market. But the enduring question remains: Would fans of the national team be willing to invest in a club team on a weekly basis. And what investors would back such ventures?