Canadian soccer hero Craig Forrest joins Festival of Football as Ambassador
TORONTO – Craig Forrest, former Canadian national team goalkeeper and one of the greatest players in Canadian soccer history, has been named an official Ambassador of the inaugural Festival of Football.
“I’m very pleased to be part of this great event,” says Forrest. “Festival of Football will raise the profile of soccer in Canada and give soccer players the chance to improve the lives of people in our community.”
In support of West Park Healthcare Centre Foundation, Festival of Football is Canada’s largest adult-oriented grassroots soccer event set for August 18 at Eglinton Flats in Toronto. This epic day-long fundraiser will be a complete soccer experience featuring teams playing in six-on-six competition, along with entertainment acts, interactive activities, food and beverage and appearances by VIPs and soccer celebrities.
Proceeds will help fund West Park Healthcare Centre’s $100 million Campus Redevelopment Plan. This major expansion will enable West Park to provide high quality rehabilitation, complex continuing and long-term care services to help individuals manage difficult health challenges associated with lung disease, diabetes, stroke, amputation and musculoskeletal issues.
“West Park is the type of healthcare facility that will touch everybody in the community at some point during their lives,” says Forrest, the first Canadian to play in the English Premier League. “I can’t believe the amount of great work and people involved in this hospital. I like seeing that the staff at West Park have the same sort of passion behind their work as soccer players have for their game.”
No stranger to charitable work, Forrest is also the Canadian FIFA Ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, an international children’s charity, providing long-term care for orphans and children in need.
“We appreciate Craig’s support as we launch this new event supporting our many communities across the GTA and the province,” says Mike Fenton, Executive Director, Campaign, at West Park Healthcare Centre Foundation. “His support of our event will help us to broaden awareness of West Park throughout the soccer community.”
A member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, Forrest first caught national attention while representing Canada at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. As Canada’s starting goalkeeper, he vaulted into the international spotlight at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup leading Canada to the country’s first and only international title. Along the way, the Coquitlam, B.C., native captured the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Goalkeeper awards. As part of the Canadian Soccer Association’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012, soccer fans honoured Forrest by voting him to the goalkeeper position on the All-Time Canada XI, a list representing the top 11 men’s positional players of all time.
Forrest’s professional career in the English Premier League spanned 17 years, in which he played for Ipswich Town, Chelsea and West Ham United. Since retiring in 2002, Forrest has been a soccer analyst for CBC and now with Sportsnet.
Team registration for Festival of Football is underway and information is available at www.festivaloffootball.ca or by calling 1-855-775-GOAL (4625). Follow Festival of Football on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FestivalofFootball and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FestofFootball for the latest event news.
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