Making a return back to American soil this week is a player who has garnered plenty of attention amongst American and Mexican soccer fans in his young career.
Edgar Castillo is back in the United States playing for high-profile Mexican team Club America, which will be opposing Manchester City FC on Saturday at AT&T Park.
“We want to win, but we realize that playing a classy team like Manchester City won’t be easy,” Castillo said. “We want to play well and put on a good show, and hopefully we can do that.”
Castillo, despite being 24, has already had a unique career in a sense — as he holds dual American and Mexican citizenship.
Despite becoming a star in high school and establishing himself as one of the top young talents in America, Castillo was bypassed by the United States Soccer Federation.
“I wanted to play for the United States and play for the country I was from, but I just didn’t draw much interest from the United States at the time I was making decisions on my career,” Castillo said.
To make matters worse, Castillo was courted by Mexican officials to play for their national team — which he agreed to do. To make matters worse, FIFA had rules that prohibited players switching countries after they turned 21, thus ending the dream and goal he had of playing for the United States.
Castillo debuted with professional club Santos Laguna of the Primera División de México in 2006, helping them to a championship in 2008. However, that wasn’t enough for him to warrant consistent playing time on the Mexican national team as they switched coaches three times.
He has also bounced around club teams in Mexico, including his second stint now with Club America, admitting his first stint with his current team didn’t go well.
“Coming back to Club America has been a very good thing for me,” Castillo said. “I didn’t do very good my first year here, came back to Club America and I’m thankful to be back.”
But Castillo caught a break, as FIFA implemented a rule in June of 2009, allowing players to switch from countries they originally played for.
Although he made three appearances for the Mexican national team in friendly competition, Castillo has always wanted to play for the U.S. — an opportunity that seems to be knocking on the door for him.
Castillo has made one appearance for the United States team, and with injuries on the current roster, many more appearances could be on the horizon.
“My goal is to become a member and play for the United States national team,” Castillo said. “I’ve been called up once and hopefully I can have a good showing [Saturday] to help serve notice.”
WHAT: Match is part of the World Football Challenge
WHEN: Saturday, 5 p.m.
WHERE: AT&T Park