Craig Forrest

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Craig Forrest
Personal information
Full name Craig Lorne Forrest
Date of birth (1967-09-20) 20 September 1967 (age 47)
Place of birth Coquitlam, Canada
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1997 Ipswich Town 263 (0)
1987–1988 Colchester United (loan) 11 (0)
1996–1997 Chelsea (loan) 3 (0)
1997–2002 West Ham United 30 (0)
Total 307 (0)
National team
1988–2002 Canada 56 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Craig Lorne Forrest (born 20 September 1967) is a Canadian former professional soccer player and sports commentator.

As a player he was a goalkeeper from 1985 until 2002, playing his entire career in England. He made Premier League appearances for Ipswich Town, Chelsea and West Ham United, whilst also spending time on loan in the Football League with Colchester United. He holds the unfortunate record of letting in the most goals in a Premier League game when Ipswich were beaten 9–0 by Manchester United in March 1995. He made 56 international appearances, representing Canada. In 2012 as part of the Canadian Soccer Association's centennial celebration, he was named to the all-time Canada XI men's team.[1]

Club career[edit]

Ipswich Town[edit]

Born and raised in British Columbia, Forrest joined English league side Ipswich Town in 1984 and remained with the club until 1997, making 263 league appearances. Forrest saw his first first-team action with 11 appearances on loan to Colchester United in the 1987–88 season. From 1988–89 through to 1996–97, Forrest was in the Ipswich Town goal, including during the 1991–92 season when the club won promotion to the newly established Premier League by winning the old Football League Second Division. Forrest was ever-present that season. He was also one of only 13 foreign players to play on the opening weekend of the FA Premier League along with John Jensen, Jan Stejskal, Anders Limpar, Peter Schmeichel, Andrei Kanchelskis, Robert Warzycha, Eric Cantona, Ronnie Rosenthal, Michel Vonk, Gunnar Halle, Roland Nilsson and Hans Segers. He was the unfortunate goalkeeper on the receiving end of the heaviest Premiership defeat in history when Ipswich lost 9–0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford in March 1995.

On a more positive note, his goalkeeping helped Ipswich beat United (then in the early years of their current dominance of English football) on two occasions in the first three seasons of the Premier League - a 2-1 win at Portman Road in February 1993 and a 3-2 victory there in September 1994 - as well as holding them to draws at Old Trafford in August 1992 and November 1993 - on the latter occasion he ensured that Ipswich were one of just three sides who visited United in the league without conceding a goal that season. He was voted Goalkeeper of the Month in the Premier League for October 1994, and around this time an offer of around £2million from an unnamed club for Forrest's services was rejected by Ipswich. He remained loyal to the club despite their relegation at the end of that season, and stayed there for another two seasons.[2]

Forrest went on loan to Chelsea from Ipswich in 1997, playing in the same team with the likes of Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola under the guidance of manager Ruud Gullit. A permanent move to Chelsea was turned down by the Ipswich Board of Directors.

West Ham United[edit]

Forrest signed for West Ham United in the summer of 1997 for £500,000.[3] Forrest played a number of first-team games in the FA Premier League in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the east Londoners, remaining at Boleyn Ground until his retirement from football in 2002. On 1 April 2000 he was again the goalkeeper for a big defeat by Manchester United. Although West Ham scored first, the game finished 7-1 to Manchester United.[4]

International career[edit]

Forrest played at the 1987 FIFA U-20 World Cup[5] and made his debut for the Canada senior team in a May 1988 friendly match against Chile. He earned 56 caps (excluding the May 1990 North American Championship match against the USA), the most of any goalkeeper in the national team's history tied with Pat Onstad and earned the most clean sheets in the country's history before retiring from international football in 2002. The highlight of his international career was undoubtedly helping Canada win the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which Forrest was named tournament MVP and Most Valuable Goalkeeper for allowing a mere three goals and stopping two penalties in his side's five games. Also during his international career Canada had secured a 1–1 draw against Brazil only a month prior to the World Cup in U.S.A. in 1994. Forrest had further success against Brazil in 2001, recording a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw in the 2001 Confederations Cup in Japan. In 2012, Forrest was voted by the fans into the Canadian best XI in the CSA's first 100 years.

Media career[edit]

Forrest was forced to retire from professional soccer due to complications from acquiring and recovering from testicular cancer. He began working as a sports analyst with Rogers Sportsnet (now Sportsnet) upon his retirement from playing. Forrest is considered by some to be one of the best players ever for Canada and continues to play a major role in promoting the game in the country, appearing frequently as a broadcaster for the men's national team and Toronto FC on Sportsnet as well as Sportsnet's Soccer Central Matchday.

Personal life[edit]

Forrest is now the Canadian FIFA Ambassador for SOS Children's Villages, joining over 80 international stars who are official ambassadors. This list includes the likes of Andriy Shevchenko, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Lucas Radebe, Carlos Dunga, Fabio Cannavaro, Roger Milla, George Weah, Andrzej Niedzielan, Samuel Eto'o and Hugo Sánchez.

Honours[edit]

Individual[edit]

Club[edit]

Ipswich Town F.C.

Country[edit]

Canada

References[edit]

External links[edit]