South Surrey resident John Herdman

South Surrey’s Herdman coaches Canada to bronze

Canadian women's soccer team finishes third at Rio Olympics after 2-1 win over Brazil Friday.

Canada’s national women’s soccer team – with head coach and South Surrey resident John Herdman at the helm – has won Olympic bronze in Rio de Janeiro.

The Canadian side edged the host Brazilians 2-1 Friday morning to claim the third spot on the podium, a somewhat unexpected result considering No. 10-ranked Canada’s lacklustre performance in losing to Germany in semifinals earlier, combined with the fact Brazil – a traditional soccer powerhouse ranked eighth in the world – was playing on home turf in front of thousands of cheering fans.

The Olympic bronze medal is the second in a row for the Canadian team, which – again with Herdman as head coach – also finished third at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

In both instances, Canada had to overcome adversity en route to the podium.

On Friday, the team had to rebound from the semifinal loss to Germany, and in 2012, the team edged France 1-0 on a goal in injury time. That year, Canada also lost a semifinal heartbreaker to the No. 1-ranked United States.

In an interview with CBC after Friday’s win, Herdman was asked, in jest, why his squad insisted on doing things the hard way.

“I don’t even know what to say to that question,” said the coach. “It’s just crazy, eh? We did it again.”

Canada got goals from longtime captain Christine Sinclair and teenager Deanne Rose to give the Canadians a 2-0 lead before Beatriz Zaneratto Joao replied for the host nation.

Herdman was especially happy for Burnaby-born Sinclair, who has long been the lynchpin behind the Canadian attack, and who, at 34, was likely playing the final Olympic match of her storied career.

“She lost her dad a couple months ago, and I know that was for him,” Herdman told CBC as tears welled up in his eyes.

“We’re all just elated. To go back-to-back podiums… I can’t even talk.”

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