‘Worth the work’: Choiniere brothers David & Mat to clash in Forge-Montreal CanChamp semis

No one will be taking sides, or chances, at the Choiniere household Wednesday as brothers David and Mathieu of Forge FC and CF Montreal, respectively, are set to face off in the 2021 Canadian Championship semi final (7:30pm ET live on OneSoccer) at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont.

“Mom said she was going to wear a Forge jersey and CF Montreal scarf, or something like that,” David joked before the match.

Indeed, the success of both Quebec-born brothers collectively is what’s worth celebrating for the Choinieres and all of Canadian soccer Wednesday. David, 24, was the first player to jump from CF Montreal’s academy set up to the first team in 2016. An injury saw him depart Montreal only to land with Forge, becoming a key part of Bobby Smyrniotis’ back-to-back North Star Shield winning side as an exciting, tricky winger with a knack for scoring in big matches.

Mathieu, a cerebral-yet-versatile midfeilder, took the same path just, rather aptly, two years behind the brother two years his senior. The 22-year-old was promoted to the senior team in 2018 but has really excelled this season, scoring twice and making 23 appearances – including 21 consecutive in MLS play – to become a key part of a side fighting for a spot in the playoffs.

“He’s super clever – I think that’s his biggest strength,” David added. “He can adapt to every situation. He’s got a good foundation about what a football player should have – he can run for days.”

One of those goals from Mathieu, against Orlando City SC, came the same night David potted for Forge at Tim Hortons Field in the previous round of the CanChamp – a goal that put the brothers together on the pitch facing off for the first time.

“Then I found out we scored 15 minutes apart or something like that,” David said. “It was a funny story – a great night for the family.”

Both Mathieu and David have fought to earn two rare positions as Canadian professional footballers – a feat on its own. But to both be successful enough to meet in the penultimate round of the national championship is another accomplishment completely. Backyard rivalries or endless hours in an unfinished basement have been told time and time again by brothers who both “made it” in sports, but elder brother David attributes something more innate in both he and his younger sibling’s success.

“We’ve been through the same experience just in different ages, different generations,” David said. “I think it’s just worth the amount of work that we put since we were young. We were really serious about it.

“There’s no secret in professional sport – if you’re dedicated, and really want it, and you stay focused for a long time, it will come.”

So for those picking a side on Wednesday (CPL vs. MLS or Forge’s underrated football vs. the defending CanChamp title holders) be sure to be like Danielle, David and Mathieu’s mom, and just be proud of the players that made it – mismatching merchandise or not.