Holy Cross striker forging a stunning career
There hasn’t been a provincial senior soccer goal scorer like Tyler Forsey since Richard Kelly and going back even further to the days of George “Bow” Collier, Wils Molloy and Paul Reddy.
At six feet, the dynamic Holy Cross Kirby Group striker has size to go along with speed, strength and a nose for the net.
His 31 goals in 2013 is more than any of the local soccer observers can recall. His offensive output was one-third of his team’s 92 goals overall.
And he hasn’t picked his spots either.
He did score 11 against last-place Strikers FC which makes sense. If you are a dominant player, you will obviously dominate the weaker teams even more than the good ones. But just about half of his goals came against contenders such as Mount Pearl (7) and St. Lawrence (4) and Feildians (4).
Asked what it feels like to be compared to some of the province’s greatest players, Forsey said “It’s fantastic, a truly great feeling ... an honour.”
Especially, he said being mentioned in the same breath as Molloy, the man whom the scoring title trophy is named after.
“Of course, Wils was before my time, but any time the word striker or goal scorer is used, my father (Walt) always mentions him,” he said.
His success this season didn’t come by accident.
“I trained extra hard this off season and really felt my game was in a good place,” he said. “In order to be a great player you must expect quality from yourself.
Forsey also takes a little pride in being able to score against any team in the league.
“For me, as a striker, it’s very important to score against every team. Fortunately, I was able to do that, because if I scored all my goals against the weaker sides, then I honestly wouldn’t feel like a true scoring champion. That definitely gives me some extra satisfaction.”
Now comes the crunch time. The playoffs are next weekend in St. Lawrence, involving defending champion Holy Cross, the host Laurentians, Mount Pearl and Feildians.
This is the time when the really great players take it up a notch. This is when it counts. And Forsey knows this is the stage where he has to shine.
“It’s extremely important,” he said.
“This (regular) season is over and done with now and we will begin from scratch again Labour Day weekend. Any one of the four remaining teams has a legitimate shot at raising the trophy. And playing down in St. Lawrence ... that’s not gonna be easy for anybody.
“But hopefully,” he added, “all goes as planned and Holy Cross can raise the trophy once again.”
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Forsey are his prospects for the future. He’s only 20 and, with more experience, the best is obviously yet to come.
“Tyler has had a phenomenal season,” said Holy Cross coach Mike Kirby. who admitted even he wasn’t expecting 31 goals from the young me.
“When Tyler is near the opponent’s goal, there is no one in the province with his ability to get a quality shot off.
“His speed is a big asset, but it’s his shooting ability that makes him so dangerous. He only needs a yard of space to get his shot off.”
Kirby said teams have keyed on Forsey at times this season, “but that only gives other players on our team extra space and we have several very dangerous attackers.”
The Holy Cross coach isn’t exaggerating about having other dangerous goal scorers on his club. In fact, five of the league’s top seven scorers are Crusader, Steve Delong finished runner-up to Forsey with 16 goals. Jake Warren and Jon Hawco each scored 10 and Jeremy Babstock notched nine this season.
“We try to focus on attacking as a unit ,and Tyler has certainly benefited from that. It makes it hard for defenders to concentrate on one guy,” said Kirby.
There are still challenges ahead for Forsey. For example, there are some questions to be answered such as how well he’ll perform in the playoffs when it counts the most and how well he might do against mainland Challenge Cup competition, which separates the great from the merely very good.
Kelly, for example, had a penchant for scoring key goals in pressure situations during Challenge Cup playoff matches.
Reddy, one of the most reliable players in our soccer history, won several scoring titles including in 1981 when he scored 15 goals in 13 games, which is pretty well equal to Forsey’s 31 in 26 games.
And there’s the legend of Molloy’s incredible second-half performance in a game against Nova Scotia in the 1970 Challenge Cup.
Molloy was forced to sit out the first half having missed the team’s curfew the night before. Finally, 20 minutes into the second half, Molloy got the call to get into the game. He responded with five goals in the final 25 minutes as the Newfoundland representatives won 6-3.
And ask any keeper who had to face Collier one-on-one and they’ll tell you their life flashed before them.
Collier, Molloy, Kelly and Reddy are legends of the game. Forsey has a ways to go yet to be considered in that class.
Nice start, though.
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