‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’: Borges Confident In Forge Rise
Canadian midfielder Tristan Borges in the midst of his third season with two-time league champion Forge FC, with his second loan stint technically coming to a close.
Don’t fret, Forge fans – he’s not going anywhere.
While the midfielder’s loan from Oud-Heverlee Leuven is officially set to end, he clarified to us that he’s staying with Forge FC through to the end of the season. He’ll be a big boost for a hammers that is now drastically rising through the league table, looking more and more likely to secure a playoff spot and fight for a third North Star Shield.
Those are big picture things, though, and Borges has honed his focused on the shorter-term.
“For me what’s next is tomorrow, and the day after that,” he laughs. “I think a big that that helps is just not over-thinking things or the future, and just worrying about the day of. You try to become a better player, a better teammate, and for me that’s the best way to become successful.”
For Borges, that translates into keeping his stress levels at low levels through a simple lens on the game: he does what he can on the field, and at the end of the season it’s either time to relax or see what the next move could be. What will comes after this season is up in the air, but right now he’s simply focused on racking up numbers in the club’s win column.
With five goals in his last eight league matches, he’s certainly proving to be a significant help, and not for the first time – after all, he won the CPL MVP award in the club’s inaugural, title-winning season.
Forge FC had a relatively slow start to the season, opening with two losses, two draws, and one win before slamming home four straight wins at the time of this interview. While momentum has only picked up more recently, Borges said the squad as a whole never had their heads down.
“To be honest with you, the locker room mood has kind of been great this whole season,” he says. “We didn’t really start the way we wanted to, but I think having the morale that we have as a club through the years we’ve had, and having the veterans we have like Becks and Morgan who have been in tough situations, those are the guys you need to lead through the situation we had.”
With Bekker having just made history as the league’s first player to hit 100 appearances (Borges is at 79), the midfielder is certainly in good company. He’s adamant that Forge still played well in the tough opening chapter of the season, though a finishing touch was lacking.
“The breakthrough was bound to happen. Like I always say, actions speak louder than words: people went to work, and we’ve been winning.”
While the fast-footed midfielder is in the midst of a hot streak, the actual statistics behind the matches aren’t something he looks at during the season: when he was heralded as the first player to score against every other CPL team back in 2019, he didn’t know until the media congratulated him. When he’s honed in on his season, he isn’t a big picture type of guy.
“For me, the most important thing isn’t whether I get on the scoresheet or not, though that is obviously very good if I do, but as long as we get a ‘W’ that’s the important thing for me,” he surmises.
Flashing back to the end of 2019, Tristan Borges is a name that few expected would be back to playing in Canada for the last two years. After bagging himself no less than three individual accolades at the first-ever CPL Awards, his transfer to newly-promoted Belgian side OH Leuven implied he was destined for European pastures.
Instead, Borges made a handful of appearances for the side and found himself loaned back to the hammers last year after a situation that he hadn’t experienced before in his career.
“It was a little bit frustrating for myself,” he admits, “but these things happen. That’s the kind of world we live it, when it comes to being an athlete you’ve just got to move on and try to become better. I still consider myself to be a little young, so we have still have a good amount of time ahead of us.”
While he could have explored options elsewhere, the 23-year-old felt more comfortable returning to a Forge FC side where he felt the most comfortable and, perhaps, capable of cementing himself as in a role that would land him minutes again.
“I thought that Forge was my best opportunity for that, though nothing is a guarantee because we all know how Bobby is in terms of rotation. For me, I just felt like it was a good chance for me to get more comfortable and fall back in love with the game again.”
Borges had actively followed the league while outside of it, but landed back with the two-time champions on loan in 2021. He made 28 appearances in his return campaign, clocking in three goals and five assists – a healthy return for most athletes.
This season shows a more 2019-esque return of five goals from eight league games, with Borges fully feeling like himself again and making more Forge history by scoring the club’s first-ever hat trick. That’s another statistic he wasn’t aware of as he hones in on simply taking things game-by-game.
While Tristan clocks in at just 23, he’s now spent the the majority of his young career in the Canadian Premier League and has had an inside look at both the growth and impact of the domestic league.
“When you look at how the CPL is growing, just to say that a club I’ve been a part of throughout this whole process is arguably the best club in the league, that says something special. With the group of guys we have and playing with a guy like Bekker, the mentor he’s been for me – these are all special things that when you realize it, you appreciate it.”
The biggest difference he’s seen from 2019 to now is a rise in maturity that has impacted everything from training matches to the respect clubs get in cup competition. There has also been time for the next generation to realize what it means to work in a professional environment, and he says people are now starting to understand what the league can provide for them, too.
With Forge ‘doing something special,’ he’s excited to see how both the club and the league will help the next generation of talent coming behind him, too.
“They’re more than just teammates to me, right?” he concludes. “And I think they know that. It’s really a family.”