Minimal Turnover: Bekker Poised For Forge Return
The Hamilton Spectator has reported that nineteen players from Forge’s third CPL title win are back in training with the side, implying that there will be minimal turnover as the team aims to continue its legacy of league dominance.
Perhaps the most important name amongst them, Kyle Bekker, is reported to be returning to the fold. The club captain is the team’s all-time appearance leader with 117, with the midfield engine also contributing fifteen goals, thirteen assists, and, er, a team-leading three red cards.
“We have the main group back here and it’s about adapting, which we’ve always done at a very high level,” midfielder Tristan Borges told The Spec. “I think that’s what builds championship teams and a championship mentality. I think we’re the best team at keeping the core group together.”
Bobby Smyrniotis offered that the club will be looking to bring in a few international players, stating that he wants to bring in one or two signings who can make a difference. Last year saw Albanian-Greek defender Rezart Rama arrive in May, and he proved to be a big element in the club’s third title-winning campaign.
“Sometimes if you wait, good things can fall into your lap,” added the gaffer.
The three-time CPL champions may not have a Champions League match to play this year, but their preseason preparations are quite extensive: the team will play eight matches ahead of the 2023 CPL season, including a three game stretch in Costa Rica, where they’ll train abroad for two weeks starting on March 16.
Back in Ontario, they’ll play against League1 Ontario affiliate Sigma FC, 905 Derby rivals York United, and NCAA powerhouses Syracuse and Akron and a match against York University.
With the club now back in training with a very familiar roster (and some draft selections), there are a few out-of-contract athletes absent: Jonathan Grant is training with York United, while it remains to be seen where Chris Nanco and Emery Welshman land.
Of course, sturdy centre-back Daniel Krutzen – who signed with Pheonix Rising – leaves big shoes to fill as well. That being said, last year saw Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson do so quite well.
With this offseason seeing the team’s lowest turnover to date thus far, however, Bobby says it’s not about reinventing the wheel: it’s about continuing from where they left off last year.
Source: The Hamilton Spectator