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Mexican-American Castillo Says He Would Play for USA
USSoccerPlayers.com, June 30th, 2009 3:30PM

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The United States national team just might get back one that got away. New Mexico native Edgar Castillo, who seemed unlikely to ever play for the country of his birth after representing Mexico's Under-23 team in Olympic qualifying, said recently he'd be willing to take advantage of a new FIFA rule allowing players cap-tied at the youth national team level to switch national teams. "I would play for the United States," Castillo told Brooke Tunstall. "I'd want to talk to them first, but I want to play for the U.S. I think it would be a very good opportunity for me, for my career. If they call me I would play for them. "

Castillo, a 22-year-old left-footed player who plays both wide midfield and defense, grew up in Las Cruces, N.M., and was his state's high school player of the year as a sophomore. But he never got much attention from the U.S. youthnational team setup which, he said, deemed the now 5-foot-8 Castillo too small. After high school Castillo signed with Santos in his parents' native Mexico and worked his way through its system to become a starter on the team that won the 2008 Clausura championship. Catching the eye of then-Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez, Castillo played in a pair of friendlies with El Tri's senior team in 2007 and last year started on the U-23 team's failed bid to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. Castillo, however, has been overlooked by Sanchez's successor, Sven-Goran Eriksson, and current boss Javier Aguirre. In January, Castillo transferred to Mexican power Club America, which recently lent him to Tigres to reunite him with his old coach at Santos, Daniel Guzman.

Castillo said he's been following the USA in the Confederations Cup and is aware that left back has been a question mark for U.S. coach Bob Bradley. "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]," he said. FIFA's new rule doesn't take effect until early August and Castillo is well-aware of the location of the USA's first game after he becomes eligible. "It's at Azteca!" he said of the Aug. 12 qualifier at Mexico City's famed Azteca Stadium, Club America's home stadium. Castillo doesn't expect a warm greeting if he plays for the U.S. "They'll probably hate me," he said with a laugh.

 

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