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Photo/graphic credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC
Why is Forge playing its Canadian Championship home match at 11am on a Tuesday?

On Thursday afternoon, Forge announced the date & time for the 1st leg quarter-final clash against MLS side CF Montréal in the Canadian Championship.

The schedule? Tuesday, May 7, 11am ET.

Yes, you read that right. An 11am match on a week-day, and no, it's not a holiday or anything like that.

So... Why on earth is the match being played at that time?

When the 2024 Canadian Premier League schedule dropped in February, Forge fans were met with a surprise, as the club had scheduled a regular season match against the HFX Wanderers at that same date & time: May 7, 11am ET.

Forge announced that it was a school match day, meaning thousands of kids from school boards around the Hamilton area would attend the game.

This move was met with both backlash and support. Some fans stated that this was a good move to grow the game in the youth community, while the other side stated that this was unfair to the supporters who pay for their season tickets every year.

Anyways, fast forward to May 1. Forge just defeated York United in the preliminary round of the Canadian Championship, securing a 2-legged tie against CF Montréal.

David Choinière of Forge FC scored the game-winning goal against York United on May 1st to secure a spot in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Championship (Photo credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian/Forge FC)

What Forge didn't know after defeating York, is that Canada Soccer would force them to play their home match on the same week of that original school match day, leaving absolutely no space in the schedule whatsoever.

Forge were forced to reschedule the Canadian Premier League match against Halifax to August, while scheduling the cup match on the same date & time as the original school match day.

Of course, Forge weren't expecting this, as they would have never scheduled the school match day on this week in the first place.

The club, obviously not happy about this, says it was never their intention to have this big cup tie being the school match day.

Canada Soccer did not provide date windows in advance.

"Ok, can't they just move the school match day to another game?"

The simple answer to that is no.

Postponing/cancelling a school trip with over 10,000 kids in just 5 days' notice is simply impossible.

Of course, this sucks for Forge fans. You don't get to play MLS teams at home every year, and not being able to go to possibly the only one in the year because you're at work stings.

Despite this, the attendance won't be low. In fact, it will be one of the highest-attended Forge games in the club's history: Over 10,000 students will be in attendance.

"This match isn't just about soccer; it's about bringing communities together, inspiring young minds, and showcasing the passion and dedication of Canadian soccer," said Nicole Demers, VP of Business Operations, Forge FC to the club. "As a club, we are immensely proud to host this event, which not only highlights our commitment to the sport but also reinforces our mission to create memorable experiences for fans of all ages."

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