Cavalry FC defender Callum Montgomery, now 26, as a 20-year-old playing for the Victoria Highlanders.Photo credit Cavalry FC Media.

NANAIMO soccer star Callum Montgomery is coming home for the ‘game of his life’ in the first round of the CONCACAF Champions Cup – the start of a two-match series that could pave the way to a faceoff against the legend Lionel Messi and his club Inter Miami down the line.

Cavalry FC defender Callum Montgomery, now 26, from Nanaimo, when he was five years old playing for the Blue Thunder. Photo credit Cavalry FC Media.

Callum and teammates from Calgary’s Cavalry FC will come up against Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC at Langford’s Starlight Stadium on February 21 — and the defender is asking locals for support as he seeks to inspire young dreamers from Vancouver Island.

As one of the only players on his side to have squared off against Orlando previously, and the only one to have scored a goal against them, former Victoria Highlander Callum could prove to be the rock that takes down the giant for Cavalry, who topped the Canadian Premier League last year to quality for the tournament.


Callum, 26, said: “I’m so honoured to play a match of this magnitude at home.

“Growing up I idolized the college players on Vancouver Island but it’s amazing that now kids can come and watch professionals play in their back yard.


“I’ll be playing my heart out for the enormous community of Islanders who supported me, and to show kids growing up here that if I can do this, they can too. It would mean a lot for people to come back us at the game.”

Cavalry FC defender Callum Montgomery, 26, from Nanaimo, with sister Meg, 23, and parents Ian, 64, and Kirsty, 62, who still live on the Island. Callum’s team, from Calgary, will play Orlando City SC at Langford’s Starlight Stadium on February 21 in the first game of a two-match series in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the equivalent of Europe’s UEFA Champions League. Photo credit Cavalry FC Media.

If successful in the round-one matchup against Orlando, defender Callum and the Cavs could be just two games away from battling Messi’s Inter Miami, the team co-owned by former Manchester United superstar David Beckham.


“The idea of playing against Messi, and in front of Beckham, is unbelievable,” added Callum, who spent four years with MLS teams in Texas and Minnesota. “But first we have to take on Orlando. I’ve played them four or five times.

Cavalry FC vs Pacific FC at ATCO Field, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Oct 7, 2023 CFC Media/Tony Lewis

“They’re used to playing on a bigger pitch in the sun, so we’re hoping for some cold rainy weather.


“If we’re brave and disciplined, and stick with our processes, we stand a chance.”


The championship will be a career highlight for the lad who, along with his sister Meg, now 23, was raised in Lantzville, on the north tip of Nanaimo, by family doctors Ian, 64, and Kirsty, 62, on Sunbury Road, where they still live today.

Cavalry FC vs Winnipeg Valour at ATCO Field, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Sep 29, 2023 CFC Media/Tony Lewis

From a household of Chelsea FC supporters, Callum started kicking a ball around as a toddler before joining a Timbits recreational league, where dad Ian took on a passionate coaching role.


Later, both parents would juggle their work hours to back Callum’s blossoming career, eventually moving him to St. Michaels boarding school in Grade 11 when the weekly drives to Victoria for games and practice with the Vancouver Island Wave became too much.


Callum said: “Making the move to St. Michaels was life changing. It was during my time there that I transitioned to the Victoria Highlanders under head coach Steve Simonson and blossomed from the middle-of-the-pack to someone people took notice of.

Cavalry FC vs Winnipeg Valour at ATCO Field, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Sep 29, 2023 CFC Media/Tony Lewis

“It was also where I met a group of guys who are still my best friends, and I can’t wait to play in front of them.”


Callum also pays credit to a host of families who took care of him and let him sleep on their couches, including Highlanders co-owner Brett Large and family, and the Merriman family of Nanaimo, including James, who is now the head coach of Victoria’s CPL team Pacific FC.


While most of Callum’s trip home will be about focussing on the big game, he hopes to grab a coffee with teammates in his favourite spot.

Cavalry FC vs Winnipeg Valour at ATCO Field, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Sep 29, 2023 CFC Media/Tony Lewis

“I’d love to take them down to Victoria’s Inner Harbour for a few minutes of calm,” he said. “I’ve travelled a lot, but not many places can compare.”


Tickets for the match on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm are available for as little as $25 via ticketmaster –


High-tempo dance band The Pickups, featuring Victoria singer Greg Baan-Meiklejohn, will get the crowd moving with pre-game and halftime funk, R&B, and soul sets, kicking off at 5.30pm (doors open at 5pm).