Edgar Castillo is still eligible to represent the USA because his appearance for Mexico in an August friendly against Colombia wasn't official FIFA competition. But Castillo, who starts at left back for Santos, the Mexican league's top team this season, is back in camp with the Mexican national team, which is preparing for friendlies against Nigeria on Sunday and Guatemala on Wednesday.
Castillo, who turned 21 on Oct. 8, is among the young players in Coach Hugo Sanchez's squad who are also candidates for Mexico's U-23 team that will aim to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Castillo had accepted Sanchez's invitation to play for Mexico because, "the other side never called me."
Because his parents are Mexican-born, Castillo has dual citizenship.
“I’m disappointed,” said Castillo from the Mexican national team camp about the lack of interest from the U.S. national team program.
Born and raised in the USA, Castillo played his youth ball for Strikers FC of Las Cruces, N.M.
"I am saddened that the United States has not recognized Edgar," says Linda Lara, his youth coach who paid for all of Castillo's trips to ODP tryouts. "They always told us he was not big enough.
"But after all
of his success in Mexico, one would have thought the U.S. national team program would finally give him a chance."
After completing high school in New Mexico, Castillo and his younger brother, Noel, attended a Santos tryout and were both offered long-term contracts. Noel is playing for Santos' Second Division team. Edgar made his First Division debut in April of 2006 and won a starting position in January.
Edgar Castillo started each of Santos' games as it reeled off an 11-game undefeated streak this season.
Last weekend, Castillo set up Santos' winning goal in a 3-2 triumph over Pumas.
"It's frustrating and I really don't understand why Edgar has never gotten a chance with any of the U.S. national teams," says Carlos Castillo, Edgar's father. "At least things are working out well for Edgar. It's going great for him in Mexico and we're very happy about that. But it makes me worry that the United States is ignoring other kids like Edgar."