Canadian soccer invasion in the MLS

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authorjacob nelson | staff writer

Three Canadian players selected in the top of draft / Rbrough via Flickr

The 2019 MLS SuperDraft has come and gone, and it was quite eventful for the Canadian soccer program. For the first time, three Canadians were selected in the top ten picks of the first round. As Canada’s soccer community continues to grow with the newly founded CPL, and domestic player rule changes in the MLS, we may start to make larger headlines globally.  

The first of three Canadians selected was Vancouver Island’s own Callum Montgomery. The Lantzville, B.C. resident has lived a long soccer career as the underdog. He was neither ever selected to a provincial team nor invited to a single Vancouver Whitecaps camp growing up. After sending out dozens of emails to universities across North America, the Canadian defender was given the chance at a Stanford ID camp. Unfortunately, Callum would not make the Stanford cut because his grades were not good enough, but this opened the door for him.  

The current coach for Stanford, Jeremy Gunn, was a former coach for the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. He referred Callum to an old connection he had at the school and the rest is history. Montgomery had a stellar four-year career in Charlotte and was even selected in the U-23 player pool for  Canada in the Olympics. In an interview with Jay Stucchio from SBI soccer news Montgomery said, “It is something I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m sure any youth player wants to represent their country so it’s definitely a huge thing that I’d love to do and I’m really excited for the opportunity to show that in the upcoming months.”  

Of course, this wasn’t the only major defining moment for the young star, as he was also selected fourth overall by FC Dallas in this year’s draft. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of on the national pitch in the coming years. 

Next up is Canada’s U-20 national goalkeeper Dayne St. Claire who was drafted seventh overall by Minnesota United. A very confident St. Claire talked with SBI about whichever team selects him high in the draft.  

“As a player at my position, I want to be involved not only in the short term, but in the long-term goals of the club,” St. Claire said. “It’s about proving myself from day one, earning the respect of the players and coaches and using those building blocks so when I do get that opportunity, I’m ready for it.” 

With the 2026 World Cup set to be played on Canadian soil, Dayne wants more than ever to be a part of that.  

“Not a lot of people can say they played in a World Cup, but also played on home soil. That definitely became a goal of mine.”  

Last but not least is Tajon Buchanan out of Brampton, Ontario, selected ninth by the New England Revolution. For a kid who had to pay out of his pocket to take part in the Syracuse ID camp in 2016, Tajon has come a long way since. Tajon is also one of seven underclassmen to be signed to Generation Adidas contracts. Buchanan has battled many issues in his career growing up, included being deemed ineligible by FIFA and the U.S. soccer federation because his biological parents, who at the time were at home taking care of siblings, were not living with Buchanan down in Colorado. He has seemingly put the past behind him and looks to build a case for himself as one of Canada’s next great forwards.  

Of course, these three would not be in the position they find themselves in without MLS making a few rules changes themselves. MLS and the Canadian Soccer Association have made it one step further to Canada’s goal of playing in the World Cup a few years back. The current ruling at the time would make all Canadians “International” players for MLS teams. This opens many doors for more Canadians to be a part of the MLS. As an international player, it becomes significantly harder to make an MLS team. At the time, there was only 160 international spots across all 20 teams, meaning that an entire roster could only house eight international players.  

MLS soccer commissioner was excited about the changes.  

“This is an exciting time for the sport here in this country,” Garber said. “What has happened over the last number of months is nothing short of remarkable, it’s why we came to [Toronto] with expansion in ’06, then moving up in Vancouver and Montreal,” Garber stated.  

Although the World Cup only comes around every four years, stars like Montgomery, St. Claire, and Buchanan are starting to pave the way for many Canadians looking to put Canada in the international spotlight. 

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