The Canadian Premier League is just a few weeks away from kicking off. The Mastermind Site kicked off its 2019 #CANPL Team Guides with Halifax Wanderers FC, to view that article check out our HFX Team Guide. Our second team to go under the magnifying glass will be Hamilton’s Forge FC, another newly formed club with a lot of optimism heading into the inaugural Canadian Premier League season. Here is The Mastermind’s official team guide for Hamilton’s new club, Forge FC.
Like Halifax, Forge FC are an entirely new club, formed in order to compete in this inaugural CPL season. The club was officially unveiled in July of last year after being in conversations for a CPL-level team for a number of years and they became the sixth team to join the league at the time. The club announced a few months later that they would be playing their games at Tim Hortons Field, the home of the Hamilton Tiger Cats, which seats around 23,000 people. For CPL matches the field will be reduced in size to around 10,000 spectators in order to create a more “intimate” atmosphere for the fans.
The crest of the club resembles both an ‘H’ (for Hamilton) and ‘F’ (for Forge), while their club colours are orange, grey and white.
Here is the official roster for the Forge FC, with links to their twitter profiles to keep the conversation going all season long and continue to raise awareness on Canada’s first ever top flight league. Numbers and player additions will be added as they come in!
|—||Midfielder||Alexander Achinioti- Jönsson|
|—||Midfielder||Elimane Oumar Cissé|
|—||Goalkeeper||Quillan Roberts||@QGoalie18 |
|—||Forward||Emery Welshman (on loan from FC Cincinnati)||@Esawelsh|
|Head Coach||Bobby Smyrniotis|
|Assistant Coach||Peter Reynders|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Johan Albert||@lanalystevideo|
MANAGER: BOBBY SMYRNIOTIS
After thirteen years with League 1 Ontario side Sigma FC, Bobby Smyrniotis takes on his biggest ever task as a football coach. Other than his thirteen-year spell with Sigma, the other coaching experience Smyriotis has to his name is a very unique one-year spell with Olympiacos’ youth academy in Greece. In many ways his experiences in League1 Ontario could be seen as an advantage as he’s been able to hand-pick some of the best players in the league and bring them up to Hamilton for the CPL. The Scarborough native holds a bachelors degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences and a Masters degree in Sports Management from the University of Louisville and played for the College of Charleston and York University. Now coming in as Forge FC manager, Smyrniotis faces a mammoth-sized task and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares after being with Sigma for so long. Early indications of the squad, training and their pre-season preparations all look very positive and his lack of experience at the very top level appears to be a non-issue so far.
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUP
The competition for places in Forge FC’s lineup is extensive. With his experience for Canada at every youth level and his brief stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Marco Carducci could be Smyrniotis’ first-choice keeper ahead of former TFC man Quillan Roberts, but the role could go to either player. Chris Nanco and Emery Welshman will look to have an impact out wide, while Anthony Novak could challenge Marcelo Zajac for a place up top. The most interesting battle for spots in the starting eleven is in midfield where Tristan Borges, David Choiniere, Kwame Awuah and recent signing Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson could all battle for places alongside Kyle Bekker. The back-line looks a bit more clear-cut and features a few former Sigma FC men in Dominic Samuel and Jonathan Grant. Both were regulars under Smyrniotis at Sigma and Samuel has the distinction of being a two-time League1 Ontario Defender of the Year. Kwame Awuah could also step into the back-line in order to accommodate Hamitlon’s strength in midfield but Bertrand Owundi and Daniel Knutzen look the safer options as things stand.
KEY PLAYER: KYLE BEKKER
Kyle Bekker arrives at Forge FC with arguably more experience than any non-injured CPL player. At one point in his career, Bekker looked as though he could make a name for himself as a Toronto FC regular, but it never really worked out that way and the Oakville native ended up playing just one season with the Reds, before moving to FC Dallas and Montreal Impact. Since failing to make his mark in the MLS, Bekker played for San Francisco and had a great calendar year for North Carolina in 2018. At 28-years old the central midfielder should be in his prime now and could be set for a National Team recall if his performances are up to par with Forge FC. Crucially, the 28-year old also played under Smyrniotis for two years when they were together at Sigma FC. With his experience and leadership, Kyle Bekker is going to be essential to Smyrniotis’ plans and Forge FC’s chances in their first ever season.
PREDICTED FINISH: 2ND
Forge FC have had a strong pre-season and have good balance in both attack and defense. Smyrniotis is one of the less experienced head coaches in the league (at least in terms of top level experience), but ultimately that might not mean anything. Their midfield base looks strong and the spine of their team also appears to be very well-structured. With potentially more former MLS players than any other CPL team, they also have a fair bit of top level experience about them. Forge FC look set to do well in this inaugural season and many have them tipped as the favourites heading in to the opening fixtures. However, The Mastermind Site is going to rank them second, due to the strength in depth and pre-season preparations of one other team.
So there it is! The 2019 #CANPL Team Guide for Forge FC. What are your thoughts on this Forge FC team? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. Also be sure to check out the other team guides that have been posted so far below.
Make sure to check back soon for all the other #CANPL Team Guides and keep the conversation going on Twitter @mastermindsite. See you soon!