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‘I worked for this moment’: Interim men’s coach Biello wants to lead Canada into 2026 World Cup


Mauro Biello says being named interim head coach of the Canadian men’s soccer team is the opportunity of a lifetime — and if he has it his way the interim title will be dropped, making him the permanent head coach.

On Wednesday, Canada Soccer announced Biello will remain the interim coach until a new permanent coach is hired. The board of directors have decided that won’t happen until the appointment of a new general secretary.

Biello wants to be the head coach for Canada at the World Cup in 2026.

“My whole life I worked for this moment. I went through the different levels having to manage different high profile players and into the international world and having that opportunity to work with John [Herdman],” Biello said.

“I know there’s a process and I respect that. But I’m going to do everything I can to be the head coach of this team. And I know it won’t be easy but I’m going to focus on what I can control and that at the moment is preparing this team the best I can to win games.”

Speaking to media for the first time just weeks after taking over the interim role in the wake of John Herdman’s departure at the end of August, Biello told CBC Sports his first order of business after assuming the interim role was having conversations with players.

Biello, 51, has been the assistant coach of the national team under Herdman since 2018.

“The minute I got the news I reached out to some of the leaders, some of the players that have been in the environment. And I felt it was important for me to listen but also to let them know what to expect from me. I’m not coming in to change the world, but I’m different,” Biello said.

“Every coach is different. Every coach has their way of working. But I also do believe that a lot of things that have been put in place are worthwhile.”

A men's soccer coach, holding a clipboard, looks on during a practice.
Biello served as head coach of Montreal Impact between 2015-2017. The Montreal native went on to shed an interim tag with the MLS club after assuming the role following Frank Klopas’ firing. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Biello is a former Canadian national team member and was the head coach of the Montreal Impact from 2015-2017. He assumed that role in similar circumstances to the one he now finds himself in.

Biello took over after Frank Klopas was fired following a loss to Toronto FC. The team had plummeted in the standings — but after the coaching change, Biello guided Montreal to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

His interim role was dropped and Biello served as head coach for the next two seasons.

Canada qualified for the men’s World Cup for the first time in 36 years under the guidance of Herdman. At the end of August it was announced Herdman would be leaving to assume the head coaching role for Toronto FC.

WATCH | Herdman leaves Canadian men’s national team for Toronto FC:

Coach John Herdman quits Canada Soccer to join Toronto FC

John Herdman, the head coach of Canada’s men’s national team, has left his role with Canada Soccer. After more than a decade of international success, Herdman will take the reins at Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.

There is unparalleled success in the program with a cast of wildly talented players. Now the pressure to continue momentum towards a World Cup on home soil in 2026 falls squarely on the shoulders of Biello.

His first test comes in less than three weeks during a friendly against Japan on Oct. 13 in Japan.

“This is an opportunity for me to get some answers. It’s an opportunity for me to try some things. But my main focus is to reconnect this group, because we have been apart for quite some time now, and to reconnect them and develop that cohesion,” Biello said.

“This is what the players want. They want to be able to play these types of games. We’re going to go there. There’ll be a big crowd. It’ll be challenging, but at the same time there’ll be a lot of learnings from this game because for me also is the preparation for the November window, which will be very vital.”

‘I’m a product of Canada’

Biello is talking about the national team heading into an important 2024 Copa América qualification period. He says he’s in the process of filling out his coaching staff, something Biello expects to be completed within the week.

He says he wants to bring tactical discipline and clarity to the players, while at the same time allowing the players “tactical freedom to express themselves.”

“I’m passionate. I’m a product of Canada. I grew up playing here in Montreal as a player. I grew up playing this game. I’ve experienced it at all levels,” Biello said.

“I’m hardworking and honest and these are the values that I’m going to share with my team. It’s about respect and it’s about hard work and humility. We want to bring this team back to where it was pre-World Cup where we had a whole nation behind us,” Biello said.

Canada Soccer also announced today the appointment of Paulo Senra as the organization’s new Chief Communications and Content Officer, where he will be responsible for the overall strategic direction and day-to-day operations.

Interim general secretary Jason DeVos says it was important to provide updates on timing and hiring of some of Canada Soccer’s key senior leadership team positions.

“It will help bring further stability and continuity to Canada Soccer,” DeVos said.

“One of the top responsibilities I’ve had, since coming on as interim general secretary, has been to modernize our federation and make sure we are set up for success well into the future. Today ensures we are taking important steps forward to do just that.”


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