News

Lantzvilles Callum Montgomery Selected 4th Overall in MLS entry draft

Lantzville's Callum Montgomery selected 4th overall in MLS entry draft

 

Callum Montgomery (Left) with his UNC Charlotte team-mates.  Photo by Chris Crews

Until today, Lantzville Vancouver Island was best known for the traffic light that would inevitably change to red as you were rushing down Island to catch a ferry. 

But after today’s MLS entry draft, the quaint seaside community on the east coast of Vancouver Island was officially put on the soccer map, after FC Dallas selected local boy Callum Montgomery 4th overall from UNC-Charlotte.

It was a surreal moment for the 21-year-old, who hugged his parents before making his way to the stage in Chicago, where the trembles kicked-in as he prepared to shake Commissioner Don Garber’s hand. 

The journey began as a 5-year-old in the Nanaimo area house leagues where his father Ian and best friend Chris Burnley coached the mighty “Blue Thunder”.  Later, it was on to Vancouver Island Wave of the BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) where he would meet Steve Simonson, a pivotal figure in his life beyond just coaching, and one of the people he thanked by name during his draft speech:

“I played for Steve at the Wave and then with the Highlanders U18, and he really started developing my play and allowing me to see the game in a different way.  We still keep in touch and he’s been a mentor to me in big life decisions beyond just soccer, and I’m really lucky to have him in my life.”

Simonson, who coaches the men’s program at the University of Northern BC in Prince George was extremely happy when he heard the news, and wasn’t surprised that Montgomery’s commitment would eventually pay off:

“He worked his but off and deserves the success he’s having because he’s a humble dedicated kid and his parents are extremely grounded.  Prior to the combine he came to Victoria for a work out with a bunch of local guys and he was the hardest working guy there. He could have said “why am I here a week before the combine, you’re not going to prepare me”.  Instead he said, “thanks for that…it was perfect!”

For Lower Island Head Coach Andrew Latham, who was also involved with the Wave during Callum’s tenure, it’s the perfect story to tell kids especially from smaller communities, who don’t immediately stand out amongst their peers:

“He was in an age group where we had some really good players, and Callum was always a bit of a slow burner, who just kept on getting better and better.  To see the draft today is such a great story to share with all our players.  It’s about the process…if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen, and the only thing you can do is work your hardest.”

The other incredible aspect to Montgomery’s story was his transition from a number 6 in central midfield (which he had always played), to centre-back.  At UNC Charlotte, his coach was Kevin Langan…who played for Bristol City in the English Championship as a Centre back.  Langan immediately saw his young recruit in the same role:

“He was unbelievable and really molded me into a central defender by giving me little bits and pieces of information that helped me immensely. He and Steve Simonson were just so instrumental in my career leading up to this day.”

The hard work has only just begun, as Montgomery now prepares for his first pre-season with FC Dallas in a month, while hoping to get the call for Canada’s U23’s. 

Everyone at BC Soccer sincerely congratulates Callum, his family, and the many people who guided him on the road to becoming a professional.     

 

About BC Soccer

BC Soccer is the provincial sport governing body with the mission to govern, promote and develop the game of soccer in British Columbia in a professional and progressive manner. Established in 1907, BC Soccer is the largest provincial sport organization (PSO) in BC and the third largest soccer specific PSO in Canada with over 150,000 participants.  As a professional not-for-profit society and a member of Canada Soccer, BC Soccer is committed to providing the widest opportunities for existing and potential participants, as well as provide support in the most effective and appropriate way for current players, parents, volunteers, member clubs, leagues and districts.

BC Soccer is comprised of more than 120,000 registered players, over 2,200 registered referees, and thousands of volunteer coaches, administrators and soccer leaders. Working with its 40 member Youth Districts and 11 Adult Leagues as well as their affiliate member clubs, BC Soccer operates under the guiding principles of Professional Leadership, Passionate Service and Progressive Collaboration. In managing its relationships throughout the larger soccer community, BC Soccer’s vision is to ensure every British Columbian has the opportunity to be involved in soccer as part of a lifelong commitment to active, health and involved lifestyle.