Forge FC announced a slew of roster moves on Friday, with a trio of Canadian players joining the club.
The CPL champions revealed that they’ve signed attacker Gabriel Balbinotti, defender Jordan Dunstan, and goalkeeper Baj Maan, and that midfielder Giuliano Frano and the team have mutually agreed to part ways for the 2020 season. Forge also announced the transfer of Canadian goalkeeper David Monsalve from Guatemalan side Xelajú MC for an undisclosed fee.
Balbinotti was Forge’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft. The 21-year-old led the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières to last fall’s national title, scoring three goals at the U SPORTS championships in his hometown of Montreal.
After spending his youth soccer career in the Montreal Impact academy, Balbinotti played twice in the USL for the Ottawa Fury in 2018, as well as 10 times in the PLSQ for FC Lanaudière the following year.
He also has some experience with the Canadian national program, having attended camps for the U-15 and U-23 teams. Forge confirmed that Balbinotti has signed a U SPORTS Development contract.
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Dunstan, a defender from Mississauga, Ont., has experience playing in the United States. The 27-year-old spent four years at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, earning an Appalachian Athletic Conference defensive player of the year nod in 2016. He was named an All-American in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics that same year.
The six-foot-two defender also played in the National Premier Soccer League for Chattanooga FC during his college years, before a brief stint with Nashville SC in the USL and then a return to Chattanooga in 2019.
Maan is a 20-year-old shot-stopper from Brampton, Ont., who has experience playing in League1 Ontario for Sigma FC, as well as at the NCAA Division I level with Northern Kentucky University. He made 17 starts in 2019 for NKU, posting a 7-9-1 record with three clean sheets.
Forge signed Maan to a developmental contract midway through the 2019 season, and the youngster filled in on the bench at times when Quillan Roberts was away on Guyanese national team duty. Maan didn’t see any CPL game action, but he will be familiar with many of his Forge teammates.
Forge also announced that Frano, a 27-year-old midfielder who made 24 appearances in 2019, has left the club by mutual consent. A team representative confirmed to CanPL.ca that Giuliano asked to take some time away from the game in order to pursue personal business interests.
The reigning CPL champions now have a roster of 22 players set to travel to Prince Edward Island for The Island Games, which kick off on Aug. 13.