Forge FC announced another round of roster moves Wednesday, bringing back Canadian international central defender David Edgar and five others for the 2020 season, while also letting go of a trio of players.
Edgar, 32, played a pivotal role in Forge FC’s Finals 2019 triumph after joining the side in August. Slotting in at centre back, the former Newcastle United player helped shore up Forge’s back line, leading to several clutch defensive showings in the Fall season and back-to-back clean sheets in Finals 2019.
Defenders Johnny Grant and Klaidi Cela, midfielder Giuliano Frano, and forwards Kadell Thomas and Anthony Novak also had their options picked up for 2020, Forge announced.
Forge also revealed that defender Bertrand Owundi, goalkeeper Quillan Roberts, and midfielder Justin Stoddart will not be returning to Hamilton next season.
RELATED READING: ‘Very strong core’: Smyrniotis executing ‘two-year plan’ with latest re-ups
Thomas, 23, made quite an impact with Forge in Year 1. He potted the first goal in club history – April 27 against York9 FC in the Inaugural Game – and scored one of the best across the entire league when he sidestepped and dribbled past several Valour FC defenders before chipping home a marker that went viral.
Novak, 25, had a similarly impressive run in front of goal for the CPL Champions. The former League1 Ontario Golden Boot winner scored six goals across 16 appearances for Forge, most of which came after Emery Welshman’s departure from the club.
Alternate captain Frano made 31 appearances across all competitions for Forge. The 26-year-old Sigma graduate had one goal and one assist on the season.
Grant battled through early-season injuries to make an imprint on Forge’s championship run. The 26-year-old right fullback appeared in 882 minutes in 13 league matches.
Cela, returns for Forge after amassing 326 minutes as an under-21 player in the CPL’s inaugural campaign. The defender scored one goal and one assist.
RELATED READING: CPL off-season roster tracker: Who’s in and who’s out for 2020?
As for the departures, Roberts and Owundi represent the biggest across the league in this first off-season.
Roberts, formerly with Toronto FC and LAFC, was widely seen as Forge’s no. 1 goalkeeper in pre-season before Triston Henry earned the nod for the Inaugural Game. From there, the 25-year-old Roberts backed up Henry, making eight starts and earning a call up to the Guyana national team.
Owundi, a Cameroonian centre back, leaves Forge after playing a significant role in their title win. The 26-year-old played over 2,000 minutes across the Canadian Championship, Concacaf League and CPL. However, Edgar’s mid-season addition left the club with an additional centre back, leaving Owundi on the outs.
Stoddart, 24, departs after making just one appearance for Forge after joining mid-season from Sigma.
Wednesday’s announcement means 17 Forge players are set to return in 2020 after another group of returnees – headlined by Player of the Year Tristan Borges and captain Kyle Bekker – was announced last month.
That batch included goalkeeper Triston Henry, defenders Dominic Samuel, Daniel Krutzen and Monti Mohsen, midfielders Elimane Cisse, Kwame Awuah and Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson and forwards David Choiniere, Marcel Zajac and Chris Nanco.