A soccer player has made it all the way from the Nanaimo house league to become a first-round Major League Soccer draft pick.
Callum Montgomery of Lantzville was chosen fourth overall by FC Dallas in the MLS SuperDraft last week. He and his family were at the draft Friday in Chicago.
“Various mock drafts projected it, but you still never know, with trades and things like that, and what teams are looking for and what they actually see in you,” said the 21-year-old defender. “You don’t really know, I guess, till you hear your name called, so it was a pretty cool moment.”
Montgomery played for the Blue Thunder house team and then Nanaimo rep before moving on to Victoria’s V.I. Wave program. He attended Dover Bay Secondary and finished high school at St. Michaels University School and played for the Victoria Highlanders.
He is coming off his final, and finest, season with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as his 49ers sported a 14-5-2 record and he was an All-American and Academic All-American.
“That was probably the best I had been in all four years, just getting older and learning from every year and starting to take a larger leadership role at the same time,” Montgomery said.
He said as a teenager, he had a dream to play MLS soccer, but didn’t think he was quite good enough.
“And then [I] got to college and started really developing more and more and grew into my body more, became faster, stronger, more athletic and then the accolades started coming in,” Montgomery said.
Still, at season’s end, he wouldn’t have thought he would be a high draft pick, so it’s been a bit of a “whirlwind” to find himself go in the first round, fly to Phoenix for a rookie symposium this week, and then look ahead to his first training camp with FC Dallas.
He said his new club has a strong program with good players and coaches and he’ll have a better idea of where he fits in once he arrives there.
“That being said, I just want to work hard every single day and do what I can do to contribute,” said Montgomery. “Whether that’s on the practice field carrying water bottles or starting every single match, I just want to contribute to the team’s success and get better every day in the process.”