Pitch to the Booth: Craig Lorne Forrest
Craig Lorne Forrest
Date of birth: 20 September 1967 (age 44)
Place of birth: Coquitlam, Canada
Height: 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position: Goalkeeper
Craig Lorne Forrest was born on September 20th, 1967 in Coquitlam, British Columbia and has gone on to become one of the most recognizable and arguably the most successful Canadian soccer players of all time.
That’s not just for his play on the field but also because of his work as an analyst for the World Cup and the weekly analysis of European league play for Sportsnet.
Forrest began his professional career as a goalkeeper with Ipswich Town in 1984 and he remained with the English club until 1997 – an astounding 263 games played for that club side.
He did see some action with Colchester United during the 1987-1988 season when he was on loan from Ipswich and made 11 appearances in the first division that year.
Forrest’s Ipswich team gained a promotion into the English Premier League in 1991 after they had won the Second Division – Premier League is the pinnacle of English soccer. Forrest would make the most of all his playing time during league play as one of only nine internationals signed in the league at that time.
Forrest certainly had his ups and downs in the English Premier League – the ups being two wins over juggernaut Manchester United and the downs including a 9-0 loss to Manchester in a game that Forrest started in goal. He was voted Goalkeeper of the Month in the Premier League for October 1994 and had emerged on the radar in England.
There was a reported 2 million pound offer to Ipswich for his services but he would remain with the team despite the lofty offer.
In 1997, Forrest was loaned to Chelsea where he would play alongside such names as Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zolabut but a permanent move to Chelsea was rejected by Ipswich. Forrest would eventually move to the West Ham United in 1997 where he would remain until he retired in 2002.
Along with a sterling English professional career, Forrest had an equally impressive career playing for his native country. He played at the 1987 FIFA U-20 World Cup and made his debut for the Canada senior team in a May 1988 friendly match against Chile and would go on to earn 56 caps before retiring from international football in 2002.
Perhaps his most impressive international results were a 1-1 draw and a 0-0 draw against Brazil in 1994 and 1991 respectively.
Testicular Cancer forced Craig Forrest from the game, but his foray into the world of soccer wasn’t quite done. Soon after his retirement he was hired as a TV analyst for Rogers Sportsnet; a position that he holds to this day.
Forrest also moonlights as the Canadian FIFA Ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, joining over 80 international stars who are official ambassadors.
Below is a number of Honors bestowed upon Craig Forrest during his stellar career:
CONCACAF Gold Cup Most Valuable Player: 2000
CONCACAF Gold Cup Most Valuable Goalkeeper: 2000
CONCACAF Gold Cup Team of the Tournament: 2000
Canadian International Player of the Year: 1994
Ipswich Town Players’ Player of the Season: 1994-1995
Ipswich Town Fans’ Player of the Season: 1994-1995