Jump to content

Forrest Fosters Soccer Interest......

Winnipeg Fury

Recommended Posts

Forrest fosters soccer interest

Viewership increases on Sportsnet

When Craig Forrest started in the English Premier League two decades ago, the only way his family could watch his games was to jump the pond.

If the former Team Canada goaltender were to play today, there's a good chance mom and dad could follow Craig every week on regular pay cable.

With double- and sometimes triple-headers of EPL each week on Rogers Sportsnet, Forrest hopes soccer prospects in Canada see the games and start to believe they can make the biggest league in the world.

Growing up in the Vancouver area, Forrest was told quite often he couldn't make it in England and it felt like a world away. He proved those people wrong and hopes the weekly program propels others to follow.

"It gives kids something to go for and have these role models they can follow on a regular basis," said the 38-year-old who played with West Ham and Ipswich Town in the EPL. "It's not happening enough in this country because we have that big dropoff at 15 or 16 years old."

Forrest has done work with Sportsnet for three years as an analyst for Soccercentral, which now airs after the Saturday morning live action. The program no longer appears during the week but Forrest and host Gerry Dobson get to immediately dissect the action on the weekend. There are also instances when the panel will get inserted on Sportsnet News.

With The Score picking up a Sunday feature game each week and a contest being broadcast on Fox Sports Net, there is more action on Canadian stations than there is in England, outside of pay-per-view channels.

The interest is a little surprising to Forrest, who played 56 times for Canada in his career. He worked the 1998 and 2002 World Cups for TSN while he was still active and also did a little work for Sky TV in England.

When he retired after successfully battling and decided to pursue full-time analyst work, Forrest would have never believed Canada would be his home again.

"When I started at the 1998 World Cup with TSN, I really enjoyed doing it," said Forrest, who now makes Toronto home. "It was a lot of fun, compared with real work.

"Outside of the World Cup, there was some worry we could get a proper league that would get ratings comparable, if not make some money. It was something I wanted to do when I finished. It wasn't something I put a lot of thought into.

"It was something I wanted to do when I was playing but I didn't think it would pick up to the point when I was finished that I could do it full time."

After years in the pressure cooker of English soccer, Forrest takes the constructive approach when criticizing the players. Although they can't hear him from across the ocean, he still tries to offer advice based on his experience.

"It's certainly easier criticizing than actually playing," said Forrest. "I don't want to be one of those guys who jumps the fence and become totally different in their outlook. I try to take the same approach when talking about the game."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...