Dominican pre-season gives Forge FC first glimpse at CPL opposition

HAMILTON — Forge FC didn’t have much time to “ooh” and “ah” as the Canadian Premier League revealed its inaugural kits Thursday night.

See, while the league revealed its kit in downtown Toronto on Thursday night, Bobby Smyrniotis’ side headed down to the Dominican Republic to continue pre-season training camp on Friday.

It’s another pre-season move for the Hamilton-based outfit after the group recently shifted training sessions to Tim Hortons Field, the site of the CPL’s inaugural match on April 27.

“When you have a long pre-season like this, I think one of the biggest things is to be able to cut it up into different components,” Smyrniotis told “It gives the guys different looks at what you’re doing so it’s not monotonous every day in the same environment.

“We’re basically working on our principles for the season for our team to gain confidence and composure in the way we want to be able to play.”

Forge FC training in Punta Cana. (Photo: Nora Stankovic/CPL).
Forge FC training in Punta Cana. (Photo: Nora Stankovic/CPL).

Well into pre-season now, Smyrniotis is “set” to begin work on set pieces during his club’s time in the Caribbean. It could prove to be a lethal weapon for Forge, which has a stable of good deliverers of the ball, highlighted by former national team member Kyle Bekker.

“We’ve been working on that slowly and that will come a little bit more in the week in front of us and especially as we get closer to April 27,” Smyrniotis said.

“We have a handful of guys who are quite lethal on set pieces, on the dead balls and on different aspects whether its corner kicks, free kicks and so on. We certainly have a good thing brewing.

“When you have multiple options and aren’t just relying on one guy or one leg from the right side, you’re in good shape.”

The league’s seven founding clubs will take part in several friendlies beginning Sunday, offering CPL clubs their first glimpse at the other 100-percent-from-scratch squads that have been assembled ahead of the inaugural season.

“We don’t have video on any of them (CPL teams), we can think a million different things, but on that day it will be 100% different,” Smyrniotis said.

“While others are focusing on us, my philosophy is we focus on ourselves as a team. That’s the way I do things as a coach. I think if we’re doing that right, we are in good shape for any opponent.”

Forge FC goalkeepers stretch ahead of shooting drills. (Photo: Nora Stankovic/CPL).
Forge FC goalkeepers stretch ahead of shooting drills. (Photo: Nora Stankovic/CPL).