Midfielder Kyle Bekker & forward Chris Nanco become first signed players in franchise history


Forge FC announced Thursday that midfielder Kyle Bekker and forward Chris Nanco are the soccer club’s first two player signings in franchise history as the team prepares for the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural season in 2019.

“Kyle and Chris are experienced Canadian players that will play a pivotal role on our team as we start to form a roster and build momentum toward our inaugural season in 2019,” said Bobby Smyrniotis, technical director and head coach of Forge FC. “We’re thrilled to begin constructing an identity for our team with strong Canadian content and this is the first step in that process.”

Bekker, 28, most recent played for North Carolina FC in the United Soccer League in 2018 where he was one of the top offensive players and earned USL All-League Second Team honours. In 36 appearances, the 5-10, 165-pound midfielder scored seven goals and was tied for third in the USL with 13 assists. Bekker also made 28 appearances with the North American Soccer League’s San Francisco Deltas in 2017, scoring four goals and playing an integral part in their NASL Championship that season.

Bekker developed through Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis’ Sigma FC youth program and was a member from 2007-13 while also spending four years at Boston College from 2009-12. In 80 career games with the Boston College Eagles, including 79 starts, he registered 17 goals and 22 assists. Bekker was selected third overall in the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft by Toronto FC and appeared in 58 career MLS regular season games, including 33 starts, from 2013-16 with Toronto FC, FC Dallas and the Montreal Impact, recording two goals and one assist. The Oakville, Ontario native also has 18 caps, including 10 starts, with the Canadian Men’s National Team, recording two assists.

Nanco, 23, most recently played for the Bethlehem Steel in the United Soccer League. In 60 career appearances with the Steel (2017-18), the 5-6, 145-pound forward registered nine goals and six assists. Internationally, Nanco has represented Canada at the under-17 and under-20 levels, earning a silver medal at the 2011 CONCACAF U17 Championships. Prior to turning pro, the Brampton, Ontario native spent four years at Syracuse University from 2013-16. In 84 career games with the Orange, including 80 starts, Nanco recorded 21 goals and seven assists. Nanco also developed through coach Smyrniotis’ Sigma FC youth program and spent time with Sigma FC’s semi-professional program in League1 Ontario from 2014-16.

“This is just the beginning of creating a pathway for our homegrown players to develop and showcase their skills in front of passionate supporters,” commented David Clanachan, Commissioner, Canadian Premier League on Thursday’s league-wide player signings. “We are thrilled to attach this diverse group of players to our clubs to give our fans something to look forward to as we continue to build our rosters.”

Forge FC will kick off the inaugural CPL season in April 2019. For season ticket information, please visit


About the Canadian Premier League

Canadian Premier League (CPL) is Canada’s professional men’s soccer league set to debut in April 2019. Playing in world-class and unique venues, and partnering with strong community-led ownership groups, CPL is a league for Canadians by Canadians that will bring professional soccer to communities coast-to-coast. For updates and more information, please go to Connect with CPL on Twitter: @CPLsoccer and #CanPL