Junior Fordney is a 23-year-old center forward for Central Coast FC of the Solomon Islands Telekom S-League. He is around 180 cm tall with a stocky build and elite pace. Fordney is twice capped for the Solomon Islands senior team and won player of the match in an OFC Champions League match last season, a competition in which he had 3 goals in 6 appearances. He has been filling up the scoresheet this season domestically, most recently banging in four against FC Juniper.
Fordney is a terrifically efficient finisher. Whether the ball is at his feet or gets to his head, a goal is expected from him. He has magical touch in the box to finish while his presence and explosion to attack crosses is second to none in his league. Fordney has excellent ability to power headers into the back of the net and displays his special leaping ability at the back post and middle box frequently. When finishing with his feet, Fordney most often uses his dominant right to finish with power, coming off explosive runs into the box to crash for first time shots. Not only does he finish with power, but he has shown some ability to shoot with soft touch, too. This comes most in handy on his long pacy runs down the middle to stretch the defense in transition. After receiving, Fordney uses pacy dribbling to enter the box, sometimes mixing in technical dribbling to beat the last defender. Last note on his finishing, he is comfortable shooting with his left, too, scoring goals with his left even on first touch, really allowing him to take advantage of crosses at any difficult angle.
On his runs, Fordney mainly stays central and sticks to the middle of the pitch to stretch out the defense, as mentioned previously regarding his finishing. His elite pace and relentlessness through the middle channel find him on the end of plenty of through balls and crosses in Central Coast’s fast-paced transition. When he lines up as an inside forward on the left and sometimes right, he will invert his runs, but the results are largely the same as that center forward positioning.
When dribbling, Fordney does well with space and in momentum with his run, utilizing pace to attack his marker then apply a quick skill move to beat him into the box if needed. When dribbling in possession is one of his weaknesses. He struggles to hold up play and can be overwhelmed by pressure, causing him to overdribble and miss passing options. It would be best for him to limit take-ons until his technical dribbling and vision improves. As a distributor, Fordney has a wide range with his right foot and is best when not facing much pressure, like receiving transition with space to see the field and spread play. From this position he can switch play with right footed cross field passes through the air to progress. When in the box, his decision-making is better when moving forward rather than receiving short, as he will even mix in a left footed low cross across the goalkeeper’s face if need be. When receiving short, especially under pressure, Fordney simply has not been reliable enough on first touch. His distribution has some promising features but is not the highlight of his skillset.
Another valuable piece of his game is his ability on the press. Fordney loves to press high and use his pace to frustrate the buildup. He will get into passing lanes to try and cut them out almost obsessively on possession loss, leading to plenty of blocks and interceptions in dangerous areas. He constantly runs about the front line looking to disturb opponents. Fordney really seems like a team player and the hard-working man to fortify the center of the frontline for high-pressing managers. This is the player that you love to have on your team but hate to play against.
Fordney’s combination of elite pace utilized both on runs and the press and efficiently high-volume finishing make him one of the more interesting prospects in OFC despite turning 24 in November. He is surely ready for the next step whether that be the New Zealand Central League where fellow countrymen Iani Lagwai Kalu just moved to or a lower-level European League, like Raphael Lea’i. To succeed, he must find a system that maximizes his high tempo, explosive style.