Craig Lorne Forrest, soccer player (born 20 September 1967 in Coquitlam, BC). Craig Forrest is arguably the best goalkeeper to play for the Canadian men’s soccer team. He was named Canadian Player of the Year in 1994 and 2000, as well as the Most Valuable Player at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he carried Canada to their first and only CONCACAF championship. Forrest later became a well-known soccer analyst for Sportsnet. He has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, the Soccer Hall of Fame of British Columbia and the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame. He was also named to the All-Time Canada XI men’s team in 2012.
Craig Forrest was born and raised in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He started playing soccer at the age of 12. He first played goalkeeper as a substitute when a player on his team was absent. He enjoyed the position and decided to stick with it.
Forrest played goalkeeper with the Coquitlam Bel-Aire City, and later with the Under-16 and Under-18 BC provincial teams. A coach he knew in Vancouver put Forrest in touch with a scout in Ipswich (Suffolk, England) named Ron Gray. Gray was willing to give Forrest a chance with the club if Forrest paid for his own transportation to England. After Forrest arrived, the 16-year-old impressed the team enough to sign a two-year apprenticeship contract with Ipswich Town.
Forrest was 20 years old when he started playing for the Under-20 Canadian men’s team. He was a part of the Canadian squad selected for the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. However, the team was eliminated in the group stages.
Forrest was called up to the Canadian men’s team for a game against Chile on 25 May 1988 in Toronto. Team Canada won the match 1–0. Forrest recorded his first international clean sheet (shutout) and quickly cemented himself as Canada’s starting goalkeeper. He held the position until 2002, posting an impressive 56 caps (appearances in international play) and 20 clean sheets. His 56 caps were the most ever by a Canadian goalkeeper (since exceeded by Pat Onstad). His 20 clean sheets also set a Canadian record.
After signing a two-year apprenticeship with Ipswich Town, Forrest made his first professional appearance in the 1987–88 season on loan with Colchester United, where he made 11 appearances. After returning from loan, he remained with Ipswich for 14 seasons until 1997. He made more than 300 appearances for the club.
In the 1991–92 season, Forrest recorded 16 clean sheets and helped lead Ipswich to the top of the English Second Division, earning the club a promotion to the Premier League. Forrest was the first Canadian to play in the newly formed English Premier League’s inaugural season in 1992–93. At the end of the 1996–97 season, Forrest was sent out on a short loan to Chelsea FC.
West Ham United
After 14 seasons with Ipswich Town, Forrest signed with West Ham United of the Premier League in 1997 for £500,000. He played for West Ham until his retirement from soccer in 2002.
2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup
The biggest moment in Forrest’s international career — and one of the greatest moments in Canadian soccer — was at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup in 2000. Forrest not only led Canada to its first ever championship, he was also named tournament MVP and best goalie and was selected to the CONCACAF Gold Cup All-Star Team. His performance included three shutouts and hard-fought victories over Trinidad & Tobago (1–0) and Mexico (2–1) in the knockout rounds. Team Canada then defeated Colombia 2–0 in the finals.
Forrest was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2001. He underwent surgery and ultimately recovered, but it forced his retirement from soccer in 2002. Forrest then became a soccer analyst and commentator for Sportsnet. (See also Rogers Communications.) He was named Honorary Chair for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup as well as the Canadian FIFA Ambassador for SOS children’s Villages.
Forrest was named Canadian Player of the Year by Canada Soccer in 1994 and in 2000. He received the Aubrey Sanford Meritorious Award in 2005. He has also been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, the Soccer Hall of Fame of British Columbia and the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was named to the All-Time Canada XI men’s team.
- Player of the Year, Canada (1994, 2000)
- All-Star Team, CONCACAF Gold Cup (2000)
- Best Goalkeeper, CONCACAF Gold Cup (2000)
- MVP, CONCACAF Gold Cup (2000)
- Aubrey Sanford Meritorious Award (2005)
- Hall of Fame, Canada Soccer (2007)
- BC Sports Hall of Fame (2007)
- Sports Hall of Fame, Coquitlam (2010)
- Top 100 Men’s Footballers, Canada Soccer (2012)
- All-Time Canada XI (2012)
- Sports Hall of Fame, Canada (2015)
- Soccer Hall of Fame, British Columbia (2019)
- Player of the Year, Ipswich Town (1995)