Former Impact midfielder Choiniere seeks new role with Forge

HAMILTON — David Choiniere had a tough decision to make.

He could stay with the Montreal Impact, an organization the midfielder had been a part of since joining their academy in 2011. Or, leave for the new Canadian Premier League and join Forge FC.

Forge FC eventually confirmed the decision, announcing Choiniere had signed with the Hamilton side ahead of the club’s inaugural season.

“I decided to come here because of a good talk with Bobby (Smyriontis),” Choinière said. “He told me how he wants his team to play, what my role will be and just told me to have fun by expressing myself on the field.”

For Choinière, it’s all about showing what he can do. A native of Saint-Alexandre, Que., he joined the Impact at 16 years old along with his younger brother, Mathieu. The two went on to play for the senior side, with David making five appearances prior to leaving the club this offseason.

You might think the Montreal Impact would feel spurned or shocked that “one of their own” decided to head west to the upstart CPL.

Not so, Choiniere answered.

Benoit Cheyrou (L) and David Choiniere (R) during the 2016 Canadian Championship.

“We still finished on a good note,” Choinière said. “They (the Montreal Impact) respected my decision as it helps move my career forward. They even told me they’ll still be keeping their eyes on me to see how I’m doing here in Hamilton.”

David’s brother, meanwhile, has been with the Impact’s senior side since 2017, making seven appearances for the club.

“He told me, because of the age I am and where I stand in my career, I needed to play more games. That wasn’t happening in Montreal.” David said.

Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrionits feels experience is key for his new midfielder.

“He needs games. That is the most important thing for people at that stage in their career.” Smyrinotis said. “Players understand this league is going to be good and give lots of opportunities not only in the playing aspect but finding chances to play in CONCACAF League and being able to compete in multiple events.”

Those opportunities will certainly come for Choinière.

Choiniere has been making appearances on the national stage for Canada since 2012. He joined the under-18 team for Canada in 2014 and the under-20 team from 2015 to 2017 before getting called up to the senior side for a Sept. 2017 friendly against Jamaica.

Because of that past experience on the national stage, the 22-year-old’s name could be called again for Canada’s under-23s in Olympic qualifying later this year.

Choiniere doesn’t want to look too far into the future as he focuses on the upcoming season for Forge, but he acknowledged competing for Canada in Tokyo would be significant.

“I think it would be a really good opportunity to show my skill on the world stage but firstly we would have to qualify,” Choinière said. “We have a really good young group and we could do something big there.”

Added Smyrniotis: “He brings a lot of quality and is a great fit for us, ready to produce at a top level.”

It’s evident Choinière has found a place where he can both play and grow.

“I think I’m going to get better here and I’m already learning every day,” he finished. “I really need playing time and I think it is a good moment in my career.”