EDGAR CASTILLO’S CHANGE OF HEART
In 2007, Edgar Castillo turned his back on the US, the country of his birth, to play for Mexico. Castillo, the son of Mexican parents, was born and raised in New Mexico and was a member of US youth national team pool.
During high school he was one of the best soccer players in New Mexico garnering the state High School Player of the year award as a sophmore. As time passed, he noticed that the ODP and National team system began to lose interest, deeming him too small. Castillo explained in an interview with Sports Illustarted:
“I did ODP,” he said. “Made the regional team. Made the national pool when I was 14. I don’t know what happened. They just didn’t call me for some reason, so I decided to go to Mexico and give it a try and now I’m playing here in Santos.”
Castillo found early success in Mexico with Santos and he received a call up to the Mexican National team from Hugo Sanchez. Here is what he had to say in 2007:
“I wasn’t expecting it that soon but it came so that’s good, getting called up to the national team with Hugo Sánchez,” Castillo told SI.com. When asked about his potential role with the national team, Castillo said he’d like to participate in “[The 2008 Beijing Olympics] and fight for a spot in the [2010 World Cup in South Africa].”
Castillo, only twenty at the time, felt rejected by the US Soccer Federation and took full opportunity to hit back when the US finally came calling:
As far as any future with the U.S., Castillo said that would never happen. “Even if they call, I’m not going to come,” he said. “I already told them that I’m staying with Mexico.”
After losing Castillo to Mexico, Bob Bradley sounded concerned about the current player scouting situation:
“Hopefully we can be more proactive in the future and keep our best talent here,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said.
Fast forward two years later. Castillo played with the Mexican U23’s that failed to qualify for the Olympics. For the full national team he only played a handful of friendlies for Hugo Sanchez, once for Sven, and isn’t in the plans of new national team coach Aguirre. Additionally, Castillo made a move from Santos to Mexican powerhouse America, but has failed to get much playing time.
Still only 22, the Mexican-American left back, is starting to have a change of heart. With the new FIFA ruling allowing players who are not cap tied to change national teams Castillo might go back on his words. In a recent interview with USsoccerplayers.com, Castillo had this to say:
“I would play for the United States,” Castillo said during a recent phone interview from Mexico, “I’d want to talk to them first, but I want to play for the US. I think it would be a very good opportunity for me, for my career. If they call me I would play for them. “
Apparently the feelings of resentment towards the US are fading and Castillo wants a second shot with the red, white, and blue. The USSF has yet to give him a call and Sunil Gulati had no comment on the situation from South Africa. Castillo though, knows it won’t be as easy as just getting papers filed:
“They have a lot of good players. I don’t think I’d come in and be handed anything. But I’d like a chance to compete” for a starting spot.
Humbled, Castillo states that a change would be the best thing for his family and his career.
I think we should give Castillo a shot on the national team. He is a young and talented left back and left mid. Those don’t come around too often.
Concerning his comments, the 2007 remarks hit close to home. Not too long ago this country was quick to push out hispanic players from the system deeming them too small or unathletic. The times have changed and the USSF has opened its eyes. I understand Castillo’s frustrations and I can’t hold it against him. I think the US Soccer Federation owes him another shot, not just for him but also to make amends for years of racist scouting policies.
Share your thoughts on this development. Do you think Castillo should get a second chance? Do you think he has a shot at making our roster? If he isn’t good enough for the Mexican side do you think he’ll be good enough for the US?