Let's talk about Forge FC
New to the Canadian soccer scene, Hamilton Forge has already made a name for itself
Forge FC is a soccer club based in Hamilton that was founded in early 2017. It is the first major soccer club based in Hamilton and currently participates in the Canadian Premier League (CPL). In its first two years of competitive football within the CPL, Forge has won two of the three championships, proving to be a new force within the Canadian football community that is only going to grow larger.
Although the club isn’t even five years old, they have made some high-profile signings over the course of their existence. In 2019, David Edgar, a former English Premier League regular, signed with the club. Although nearing retirement, Edgar was at the time considered one of the most experienced Canadian center backs, having played 42 times for the country and scoring two goals.
In 2021, Forge signed another high-profile Canadian veteran, Dejan Jakovic, who played on high profile teams such as Red Star Belgrade and LA Galaxy before coming to Hamilton. What made Jakovic such a big signing was also his immense experience for the Canadian national team, where he was capped just over 40 times throughout his career.
Just recently, Forge reached its biggest success yet in qualifying for The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Champions League by defeating Santos de Guapiles three to nothing at home, which guaranteed automatic qualification to the big tournament.
With the team at a current season break, the squad will return to play in mid February to play the Mexican giants Cruz Azul in the first round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The manager of ticket sales and youth soccer initiatives at Forge FC, James Hutton — a McMaster graduate — expressed his excitement at being a part of the club so early on in its existence.
“I have been a part of the club [since shortly] after it was founded and it has been remarkable to see how much it has grown over the past few years. We have aimed to spread the word about us in the community and it did a great job. We have more and more fans coming to our games and it’s great to see people getting involved in soccer here,” said Hutton.
When asked about the fanbase and how much it means to the club, Hutton didn't hesitate to explain the importance of the support they’ve been getting.
“People may think sometimes that we are taking fans away from other clubs but that is certainly not what we are doing. I think what Forge FC is doing in Hamilton is bringing fans to the sport — new fans that not only become our supporters but start supporting the national team as well. It was a very exciting journey so far and we are excited to see it progress,” explained Hutton.
Regarding the recent success in the CONCACAF Champions League, Hutton quickly expressed his excitement at the games coming up.
“Just qualifying for the big competition was amazing for everyone at the club. We all knew that we could win the CPL but we also knew that we could be dangerous in the continental competitions as well. We showcased who we were in that [three to nothing] win and I think we can do even more when we come back in February,” said Hutton.
When asked about how he feels now that Forge will be playing Cruz Azul, Hutton once again mentioned how fascinating an experience it will be.
“We will be playing against one of the best teams in North America. Not only that, but we will be traveling to one of the most remarkable stadiums, the Azteca. I personally can't wait to come up against them,” said Hutton.
Although Forge is currently on a break, it will return to the field for the Champions League thriller against Cruz Azul on Feb. 16 at the Tim Hortons Field. Just eight days later, they are set to rematch against the same club on at the Azteca.