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Hamilton’s professional soccer team kicks off this month

As if Hamiltonians weren’t bursting with enough pride already, our city’s got another sports team to cheer on. Enter Forge FC — Hamilton’s professional soccer club sparked for greatness.

Two years ago, Canada’s new professional soccer league, the Canadian Premier League (CPL) was officially sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association. Since the announcement, there have been new stadiums built, countless open trials, and grand visions come together for the inaugural season which kick starts this month.

Seven nationwide teams join the league, including Pacific FC (Victoria, BC), Cavalry FC (Calgary, AB), FC Edmonton (Edmonton, AB), Valour FC (Winnipeg, MB), York 9 FC (York Region, ON), HFX Wanderers (Halifax, NS) and best for last, our very own Forge FC. These teams will become instrumental in building the player pool for our national team and increasing soccer fandom within Canada.

The team is owned by Bob “Caretaker” Young who also owns the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats since 2003. The Ticats, of course, have been an iconic team since the 1950s whereas Forge FC doesn’t have any history yet. Though that is part of the appeal for Young as this new league offers Canadian players a chance they otherwise might not receive.

The CPL’s inaugural match will be held at our very own Tim Hortons Field on Saturday, April 27th at 1:00 pm. Lead by Head Coach Bobby Smyrniotis, former Head Coach of Mississauga’s Sigma FC, Forge FC will play against the York 9 in what is sure to be a historical moment in Canadian sports history.

The stadium hosted the 2015 Pan American soccer games as well as a Canada Women’s National Team match the same year. It’ll be refreshing to breathe new life back onto the pitch and see high-tier soccer at Tim Hortons Field once again.

The CPL aims to embody the spirit of community and country rather than operate simply as a business cog in the sports industry. As a demonstration of this, Forge FC has launched a “Soccer Unites Hamilton” initiative. This promotion is meant to be a small token of their thanks for all the citizens who helped make Tim Hortons Field into the giant that it is today for all events, but particularly for elite soccer competition. They wish to ‘forge’ a new path for Hamiltonians to unite together.

As part of this initiative, the first match will be free to the public. The goal is to fill up Tim Hortons Field to the max in order to make the inaugural CPL game the most-attended event in the history of the stadium.

Normally, a Forge FC game will cap the capacity of the stadium at 10,016 seats, but for this special event they are expanding capacity to the full 23,218 seats the stadium has to offer, including the Stipley and Coors Light Patio. The team hopes to really ignite the pitch for this epic match.

There will be a contest (first-come, first-served) for remaining match tickets at the game and to raise money to support Hamilton youth soccer teams with a goal of raising $50k for youth soccer. Soccer fans can register for free tickets at forgefootball.club.

Another community initiative Forge FC is running is the “Forge Fans for Life” program in which all babies born at McMaster University Medical Centre in April will receive a super cute Forge FC baby cap and the parents will receive two tickets to a 2019 home game.

Season tickets are on sale now. You can sign up to become a “Co-Founder”, which gets you exclusive advantages including a limited amount of lower bowl tickets for the inaugural match and extra tickets to the Canadian Championship match in June.

As a Co-Founder, you can buy discounted tickets for $17 per match during the inaugural year, including 4 additional game tickets. You will also receive a Forge FC home jersey in the membership package to wear with pride. Members also enjoy other benefits, such as first access to preferred seat selections, pre-game access to the field, 10% discount at the Forge FC store and food/beverages during matches, and membership to the Co-Founders Board with voting rights on special initiatives. There are already more than 1500 co-founder members!

There are also flex packs on sale, which allows fans to select at least three matches and save up to 40%. You can sign up for these benefits at forgefootball.club or by calling (905) 527-3674. You can also download the CPL app by searching “CPL Centre Circle Mobile App”, which holds exclusive content and allows you to purchase tickets, receive special offers, and earn points.

Given that the CPL’s inaugural match is right here at home, you can bet that thousands of eyes across Canada will be on Hamilton come game day. Already Hamiltonians have become a loud, proud group of fans and it’ll be exciting to see that energy translate to the stadium. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and awareness about the team in Hamilton,” says Young.

We look forward to seeing the full stadium first-hand on April 27th.

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