April 11, 2007 Toronto FC Craig Forrest trying out for team...(from Canadian Press)

POSTED ON: 11/04/07
Forrest denies talk of a comeback with Toronto FC
NEIL DAVIDSON
Canadian Press

TORONTO Despite working out with the team this week, former Canadian national team goalie Craig Forrest says it's unlikely he'll join Toronto FC.

The 39-year-old Forrest, due to be inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame next month, trained with the expansion MLS team on Tuesday. Toronto coach Mo Johnston is looking for some experience to back up current Canadian international 'keeper Greg Sutton.

So Johnston turned to Forrest, who retired in 2002 after beating testicular cancer.

Forrest said his workout at BMO Field was fun, despite tweaking a calf.

"Nothing too severe. Probably a combination of a dry pitch (and) not training for three years," Forrest said with a laugh.

"All things said and done, it actually felt a lot better than I thought it would."

But Forrest said the runout was probably a one-off given his current broadcasting duties with Rogers Sportsnet.

"Of course, my heart's telling me it would be an awesome thing to be involved with. But realistically, is it the right thing to do?"

Probably not since he can't be both on the bench and in the broadcast booth, Forrest noted.

Still, he says Toronto FC was serious in asking him to work out.

"There's an interest there," Forrest said of Toronto FC. "Mo knows that it's a good fit."

Forrest is an attractive option because he has experience, is Canadian and comes as a free transfer. Toronto FC also has little cover for Sutton.

"There's concern ... that if Greg gets injured, there's not a lot of experience," Forrest said.

The current No. 2 is 22-year-old Tomer Chencinski of Thornhill, Ont., who is fresh out of college at Fairleigh Dickinson.

Toronto had American goalie Jon Busch in camp but released him, wanting to use the import slot for an outfield player.

Johnston had talked to Forrest weeks ago about possibly suiting up, then brought it up again last weekend while Forrest was in California to broadcast Toronto's season opener against Chivas USA.

"He goes 'What are you doing Tuesday?"' Forrest recalled.

Playing goal at 39 is by no means unprecedented. Pat Onstad, another former Canadian international, is 39 and starts for the defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo.

Forrest's main concern is his broadcasting career, which he has built up since retiring in 2002. The MLS salary cap would also probably offer little reward for a backup goalie.

"There's no future in football as far as I'm concerned playing at 39," Forrest conceded. "Two years, three years on the bench, perhaps if I got back to full fitness, I could do that. I don't think I could maintain a long stretch of times (playing) in games. But who's to say."

Forrest said he would love to keep training with the club "even as just a supporter of the team," if Johnston thought it would help.

"I would be more than happy to be involved in whatever way I can," he said.

He also has nothing but good things to say about the Toronto FC players "all the guys are brilliant."

Forrest will be involved in broadcasting Toronto FC games for Sportsnet. Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday that Sportsnet, CBC and The Score will combine in showing 30 Toronto FC games this season.

CBC will air 14 and Sportsnet and The Score eight apiece. CBC will also who the MLS all-star game and MLS Cup.

Forest, a Gumby-like six-foot-five 'keeper who left Canada at 16 to play in England, spent 14 seasons with Ipswich before joining Chelsea briefly and then finishing his career with five seasons at West Ham. He earned 56 caps for Canada between 1988 and 2001 and still holds the national team record for shutouts with 19.

In 2000 at the Gold Cup in California, Forrest posted shutouts in three of five games as Canada won the championship of CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. He was named tournament MVP and top goalie.

Canada's reward for winning the Gold Cup included a trip to Japan for the Confederations Cups, where Forrest turned heads by blanking Brazil in an acrobatic display at Kashima.

Notes: Real Salt Lake forward Jeff Cunningham is the MLS player of the week after scoring twice in a 2-2 tie with FC Dallas ... The Montreal Impact have acquired Montreal forward Sita-Taty Matondo from the Vancouver Whitecaps for American forward Jason McLaughlin.

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