CHICAGO - For the second-straight year, FC Dallas took two players from the same position group with top picks at the 2019 adidas MLS SuperDraft.
With the No. 4 Overall pick, the club took their top-ranked target in defender Callum Montgomery out of UNC-Charlotte, following up his selection by taking left back John Nelson, a Generation adidas signing from UNC.
“We felt what our strategy was always pick the highest value, the highest ceiling, and if it happens to be what you need, fantastic. These are two picks that fit into that category and they’re both players that we think will be important for the depth chart,” head coach Luchi Gonzalez said of his first draft as a head coach. “They’re competing to make an immediate impact, but I also see that they have a mentality that they want to learn and to be students.”
In his senior season at Charlotte, Montgomery was named a United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American and the Conference USA Defender of the Year. He started 70 games over four seasons, adding 11 goals along the way.
A self-described late bloomer, it wasn’t until his college career that he developed into a top-five pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
“Growing up I don’t think I was ever selected to make provincial teams, or I was never invited into the Whitecaps residency so that’s all been part of my journey,” the Victoria, B.C.-native said. “If I was to go back, I wouldn’t change anything. What I’ve had, and the successes and people that I’ve been around and surrounded myself have really helped me and I’m so thankful that everybody else—my coaching staff at Charlotte, coaches growing up in youth—without all of them and my teammates there’s so way I’d be in this situation now so I’m just really grateful in this moment right now.”
Nelson needed just two years at the University of North Carolina to prove his readiness for the next level. As a left back mainly but able to play in the midfield as well, he started 41 games in 2017 and 2018 combined, helping lead UNC to the second round of the 2019 College Cup.
“I’m a hard-working player. I’m very consistent no matter where I play, left back or anything,” the versatile defender said. “I’m always going to give it my all. I’m always going to work hard, I’m a competitor so that’s what the fans and the FC Dallas community can look out for.”
As a signed player, Nelson will automatically be added to the FCD roster and will learn under Marquinhos Pedroso in his rookie season in Dallas. Montgomery, on the other hand, will have to earn himself a contract in preseason, but coming into camp so highly-thought of by the Dallas staff, he should be a lock for a contract and possible loan to North Texas SC to begin his pro career.