Canadian Premier League: Forge FC Roster Taking Shape

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Hamilton, Ontario (February 25, 2019) — The Forge FC Roster is taking shape in the Canadian Premier League. The club from Hamilton, Ontario has got themselves a goalkeeper, signing former University of Connecticut standout Triston Henry.

The team also signed defender Dominic Samuel.

Canadian Premier League: Forge FC Roster Taking Shape

Both players were with Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis with Sigma FC in League1 Ontario last season. Henry, 25, is from Scarborough and had a successful college career before returning to Ontario and Sigma FC in 2016.

“We are very happy to add both Triston and Dom to our squad as key pillars in our backline,” Smyrniotis said. “Both players bring valuable experience and accolades from League1 Ontario, NCAA and the pro game.”

“Triston’s growth in the position has been excellent and he’s always been a player able to elevate his game to the next level,” Smyriotis continued. “He is a fantastic shot stopper, but most importantly he rises to the occasion in the moments his team needs a timely save.”

Meanwhile, Samuel, 24, was the League1 Ontario Defender of the Year in 2015 and 2018. He played the 2016 season in the USL with the Rochester Rhinos, appearing in 29 matches. Under Smyrniotis at Sigma FC, he made 33 appearances and scored three goals. Although he’s not the tallest player, Samuel plays larger than his size. He also provided a threat on set pieces for Sigma this past season.

“Dom comes to us with an excellent pedigree at all levels he has competed, whether NCAA, USL or League1 Ontario,” Smyrniotis said. “He’s a fantastic defender who shows an excellent sense for the game in reading situations very well. Dom’s a player I know very well from his formative years of development and look forward to him becoming a top defender in the CPL.”

The Smyrniotis connection is proving incredibly valuable at getting quality players who will fit the system the coach wants to put into place. These signings put the number of former Sigma players up to six. All in all, expect more to be on the way.

While this approach will work in the short term, expect Forge to widen their net in finding players. Eventually, all the Sigma academy players will be gone — or already here.

Putting Pieces in Place

The addition of Samuel and Henry brings the Forge player pool up to 10 and likely gives a good indication the starting XI fans will see on April 27 at Tim Horton’s Field. Smyrniotis is a big proponent of the 4-3-3. It certainly seems that most of these places are locked down.

Henry will be the goalkeeper, with new signing Dominic Samuel joining Cameroon international Bertrand Owundi and former New York City FC player Kwame Awuah on the backline. One spot — presumably the right fullback — is yet to be filled as the roster solidifies over the next few weeks.

In the midfield, Kyle Bekker is locked into a starting position. He’s the most experienced player on Forge’s roster and the most talented passer in the CPL, so far. He will be pulling the strings for Smyrniotis’ midfield. Some combination of Giuliano Frano, Tristan Borges and Swedish international Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson will take the other spots.

Marcel Zajac, who chose to sign with Forge FC rather than joining MLS, is a promising attacker. He’ll be a player to watch come the start of the season. Chris Nanco brings some experience in USL and pace to what will undoubtedly be a dangerous Forge attack. Again, one spot up front remains.

On paper, this puts Forge in a great position to contend for the inaugural CPL title. With experience in key areas, familiarity with the coach and system and good depth signings around the pitch, expect Hamilton to make waves in season one.

Counting Down to Training Camp

With the deal from MEDIAPRO answering some questions about how fans coast-to-coast can watch CPL games and the home openers of each founding club being revealed, the long dream of Canadian Professional Soccer is coming close to being fully realized.

Later this week, the full schedule should be released. Meanwhile, teams will begin finalizing rosters as the first game draws nearer.

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