Canada's hope: How Victor Montagliani rose to CONCACAF's top spot

Victor Montagliani - Canadian Soccer Association - December 2014

Newly-elected president of CONCACAF and vice-president of FIFA Victor Montagliani is suddenly one of the most powerful Canadians ever in world sport.

He’s also the man tasked with restoring CONCACAF’s reputation after years of controversy, and could be the one to oversee the awarding of the 2026 FIFA World Cup to one (or perhaps several) of this region’s three biggest nations.

So, just how did he get to this position?

Montagliani was born in in 1965 and, growing up in East Vancouver, almost immediately became immersed in the sport of soccer. As a child, his father served as president of Vancouver Columbus FC, a renowned men’s amateur club that Montagliani himself would also one day play for.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in 1988, Montagliani’s career path took him into the world of insurance, a field in which he still works to this day. But as his career advanced in that vocation, so too did his involvement in the world of soccer administration.

He became president of the British Columbia Soccer Association and a vice-president of the Canadian Soccer Association in 2005. By 2007, the CSA was wracked by internal turmoil when president Colin Linford resigned after just 15 months on the job.

Montagliani continued in his role as vice-president as Dr. Dominic Maestracci was elected new CSA president. Then, in 2012, Montagliani – with governance reform as one of his main priorities – defeated Maestracci to claim the CSA presidency.

Soon after, he became a member of FIFA’s legal committee as well as a member of CONCACAF’s executive committee. He’s also been involved with the two biggest tournaments Canada has hosted, serving on the local organizing committee for the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the national organizing committee for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In May 2015, Montagliani made headlines by declaring Canada would not support incumbent Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election. Though Blatter would win that election, he would later be banned from FIFA amidst a series of allegations and arrests reaching the upper echelons of the organization.

Amidst that maelstrom, Montagliani was appointed to a special task force to oversee reform within FIFA.

In May 2016, Montagliani was acclaimed as CSA president for a second term, but is required to relinquish that position within the next 12 months due to being elected head of CONCACAF.

Indeed, the future for Montagliani – who is fluent in four languages (English, French, Italian and Spanish) – holds both opportunities and challenges that extend far beyond his national borders.