Forge FC End-Of-Season Roster Update Keeps Most, With A Few Big Questions
Reigning Canadian Premier League champion Forge FC has released an end-of-season roster update that shows a staggering fifteen players remain on guaranteed contracts for the 2024 CPL season.
The four-time league champions have enjoyed a remarkably consistent roster under head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, who some believe is overdue to coach at a higher level.
The club has now confirmed that two-time Golden Glove winner Triston Henry will remain with the side for a sixth-year straight. He procured ten clean sheets from 32 appearances across all competitions this year, with the Scarborough native also cracking fifty all-time clean sheets for the hammers.
The defensive line in front of him will see the likes of Manjrekar James, Garven Metusala, Malik Owolabi-Belewu, Dominic Samuel, and Kwasi Poku (who trialed with BK Hacken last year) all remain in place. Forge finished with 0.87 goals against per game in the regular season, tied for second-best in the league.
The face of the club and its team captain Kyle Bekker will also return, with the Oakville native – 18 times capped by Canada – contributing an incredible eight assists and four goals en route to their playoff championship.
The midfield component will also Alessandro Hojabrpour (who scored their title-winner in 2022), young Bekker understudy Noah Jensen, and youth prospect Khadim Kane also return, while the front line will enjoy the return of impressive midseason addition Beni Badibanga, Terran Campbell, Jordan Hamilton, and Forge originals David Choiniere and Tristan Borges, who won the league with an unforgettable Olympico.
There are some big question marks for players not mentioned: Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson has been a staple feature and is the club’s all-time appearance leader with 148, with last year seeing the defensive midfielder win defender of the year after he filled in for Daniel Krutzen. His departure would leave significant shoes to fill.
Also not mentioned is Rezart Rama, the physical Greek-Albanian full-back who has gone two-for-two in terms of trophy wins since his arrival, along with Aboubacar Sissoko and youngsters like Sebastian Castello and Christopher Kalongo.
It is already known that star striker Woobens Pacius has left the club after a stellar return of 32 goals in 93 appearances, with the 22-year-old linked to an MLS move through Nashville SC.
The club does state that it remains in discussions with other roster members, most of whom are on option years of which Forge has until December 31, 2023 to trigger. The four-time CPL champions are also in negotiations with with some new faces, too.
“We are excited for the upcoming season with the current roster,” offered head coach and sporting director Bobby Smyrniotis.
“Heading into the 2024 season, where we’ll be competing in the Concacaf Champions Cup and defending the North Star Cup, it is crucial to maintain the cohesion of our team’s core and this group embodies the winning culture we have cultivated here at Forge.”
With the four-time CPL champions set to embark on an early preseason ahead of a February Concacaf Champions Cup tie against Liga MX side Chivas Guadalajara, more roster updates are expected to follow suit.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques