Canada Soccer successfully integrates Men’s EXCEL Program across Canadian MLS academies

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Canada Soccer aligned pro and international soccer through three weeks of Men’s EXCEL programming in Montréal, Québec, Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. The new program allowed Canada Soccer to share tactical ID and team culture concepts while also assessing player development for future EXCEL activity as player progress to the Men’s National Team.

Week by week, Canada Soccer worked hand-in-hand with Major League Soccer clubs Impact de Montréal, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC from 14 January through 1 February. Alongside the programming within MLS academies, Canada Soccer also launched their Regional EXCEL Integration Program at BC Soccer, delivering the Men’s EXCEL Strategic Overview, the Regional EXCEL Integration Plan and Men’s EXCEL Tactical Framework to coaches and technical directors.

“We are creating a synergy across our game working closely with the MLS academies across Canada,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach and Men’s EXCEL Program Director. “Our coaches are working closely with their coaches and they are starting to understand what we offer and what we are trying to achieve.”

The program ensures MLS academies, their coaches, staff, and players work with Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team coaches, understand the National EXCEL philosophy, and the way that Canada play. For Canada Soccer, the program lets National Team coaches understand how MLS academies operate and the conditions in which they work.

“It’s all about creating a synergy so that we can be the best in Concacaf,” said Herdman. “There are not many clubs around the world that would let international teams come in and take over their coaching environment for a full week, but that’s what we can do differently in Canada and the could be our x-factor within Concacaf.”

The project featured Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver’s U-15 and U-17 teams. The project was led by Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL U-14 to U-17 Program Director Andrew Olivieri and Men’s Regional EXCEL Program Director Joey Lombardi. Other Canada Soccer coaches and staff also took part in the program, including Men’s National Team Head Coach John Herdman and Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Mauro Biello.

Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program channels our nation’s exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territory partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada’s elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada’s Men’s National Team in international soccer.