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Castano chooses Colombia U-20s over U.S. U-20s for upcoming camp

SantiagoCastañoUSU20DallasCup2014 (DallasCup)


The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team lost a player who was likely a sure bet to make their squad for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championships to another national team.

New York Red Bulls Homegrown signing goalkeeper Santiago Castaño has accepted a call-up to the Colombia U-20 National Team, a source told SBI Soccer. The decision to join up with the Colombia U-20s squad comes as a surprise, as Castaño had been called-up to the U.S. U-20s for a camp this week in Honduras and has regularly played for the U.S. U-18s and U.S. U-20s over the past three years.

Castaño, born to Colombian parents in Queens, N.Y and raised in New Jersey, is joining Colombia U-20 ahead of a crucial period. Head coach Carlos “Piscis” Restrepo has called in a 26-player squad for a training camp in Cali, and the final 23 will take part in highly-anticipated South American Youth Championship held in Uruguay from Jan. 14 through Feb. 7.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper signed with the Red Bulls ahead of the 2013 season, but has failed to make a first team appearance in league action.

He split his time this summer with call-ups to the U.S. U-20s, making four appearances, all starts, in international matches, and playing with the U.S. U-20s during the Dallas Cup, NTC tournament, Argentina camp in September, and Spain training camp in November.

Castaño reportedly said in an interview this year that he dreams of playing for the Colombian National Team some day.

U.S. Soccer are currently in the process of calling up a replacement to take Castaño’s spot in the U.S. U-20 squad during their week-long training camp in Honduras.


What do you think of this development? Surprised to see Castaño chose Colombia over the USMNT?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Only problem I have with this is that up until Colombia came calling he was he was very eager to play for the USA. If he really had his heart set on Colombia why did he ever accept a call up to the US youth teams. It seems to me he was just putting down a place holder with the US and hoping Colombia would take notice and bring him in, which isn’t right. Either you’re all in or your not. Make your mind up. A 17-19 year old should be able to decide if they are American or Colombian and stick to it. If you want to play for Colombia play for Colombia don’t accept US invites knowing full well that your gone as soon as Colombia comes calling. Its not fair to the other players who could have benefited from those call ups and want to play for their country.

    • I definitely see your point. However, I’m sure he likes the USA. He probably just likes Colombia. What I think is most likely is that he is keeping his options open at this stage since he still can. Attend camps for both to keep in the running. Some of with dual citizenships would have a hard time choosing one over the other. I would probably do the same thing.

  2. There’s no way he would have started over Klinsy’s son anyways.

    He probably knew he had a better chance with Colombia, I can see other kids following suit as Klinsy continues to favour German dual-national over other dual-nationals like Torres, Castillo, Gomez, Orozco ect.

    • I think if SBI did a poll on how it’s readers felt about this player, you’d be pleasantly surprised. We’re an opinionated bunch, with too much personality at times, but we’re relatively reasonable.
      And every flock is allowed it’s few stray geese, to quote the proverb.

    • Those guys all spent most of their lives here and all should play for the USA. Instead, JK will recruit some German who’s never set foot here and everyone will say he’s a true American.

      • Because people spewing hatred at others, whose personal situation they can’t possibly know, in the name of “patriotism” have been responsible for so much good in the world.

      • Wow you are THICK! How can you play for a country if you not a citizen of that country. Some of those guys are just residents, but you would rather have them play over guys who are actually citizens. Do you want this to be the US Men’s Resident Team? I get you have your own subjective measure of what an American is, but that doesn’t matter and it is, honestly, dangerous. Imagine some guy saying that the USMNT is full of guys who do not look or seem American.

      • Woah…just read this and it was a bit harsh. Having a rough week, and I am taking it out on the blog (better that than my co-workers or family).

        My bad! However, the gist of it still stands.

  3. The World Cup is basically just an assembly of some top players based loosely on their current or previous residency. It no longer has anything to do with the concepts of nation, culture, language, ethnicity, playing style, or commonality. I personally preferred the old ways of maybe 4 or 5 tournaments ago, but those days are long gone and never coming back. There is no point begrudging any player for their decision because current teams are already stocked with such members that pledged allegiance to non-traditional variables (fame, endorsements, playing time, ego, etc).

    • By the old standards, he still would have played for Colombia. If you want be strict about it He is really a Colombian, Both his parents are Colombian, he lives in a large Colombian expat community. An American born to 2 Americans in China is still an American.

      Really don’t understand why people take it so personally.

      • Wow, so the children of immigrants are not American even when they are born and raised here? Incredible. Well, that’s an interesting viewpoint anyway. What’s hilarious is that this guy probably thinks he’s really open-minded and tolerant when what he’s just said is actually incredibly offensive.

      • You are putting words in my mouth. I said he is Colombian. That DOES NOT mean that he is not also American. The guy identifies with both places, but he is Colombian and clearly shares close ties with that country. I have dual nationalities. Every dual national I know has split allegiances. Sometimes you feel closer to one country than the other due to experiences and cultural ties.

        Just because you are born in a country that does make you a citizen of that or most countries. Citizenship is primarily granted in North and South American in you are born in that country. However, in most of Europe, Africa, and Asia you are not a citizen in you are born there, but neither parent is a citizen. E.g. if you are born in Italy/England to non-citizens, you are not a citizen of either country

        Frankly, given your history of postings on this blog, you of all people should not be accusing others of intolerance.

    • That is a nostalgic take on things to say the least. International soccer has always been a mercenary practice. Most of Italy’s titles were won with Argentinians. If anything, rules have become stricter.

      Your true beef is with globalization. The world is flat and immigration has created cultures (especially ours) that are diverse and complicated. Those wishing for “purity” in international soccer need to open their eyes and realize how complex the world is for some context as to why that is just not possible.

      • “International soccer has always been a mercenary practice. Most of Italy’s titles were won with Argentinians. If anything, rules have become stricter.”

        Exactly. Argentine great Alfredo Di Stefano played for THREE national teams during his career, Argentina, Colombia, and Spain. This would never happen today, but the idea that national team soccer has always been a place for “pure” nationals to showcase a country’s soccer prowess is a myth.

    • Things haven’t been the same since France 1998 when France won the WC with an all star African team mixed in with a few French players

      • If you think that is true, you are, quite frankly, ignorant. In the past, players could easily play for different national teams. The great Alfredo Di Stéfano played for 3 different national teams (Spain, Argentina, Colombia). Puskas (greatest Hungarian player of all time played for Spain after leading Hungary to 2nd place in the ’54 World Cup). There are many examples. I even remember a Brazilian player who won the WC with Pele and played for Italy afterwards The rules used to be you could play for any country you were a citizen of. The rules changed in 2003/4 to limit 1 change as long as a switch was filed before 21 then in 2009 FIFA removed the age limit. Make no mistake, it was A LOT easier to switch teams in the 20th century.

        I lived in France during WC 98. The only players on that squad that were not born in France or French territory were Marcel Dasailly and Patrick Viera (he barely played – Deschamps & Petit owned midfield), but they both grew up in France. The only players in the starting 11 of African descent were Zidane, Thuram & Desailly. The teams was diverse (a conservative pundit said the team was black, white and berber) with guys who parents originally came from Turkey, Argentina among other places. The French teams has always been a hotbed for sons of immigrants. The great team of the 50’s was lead by Polish immigrants Raymond Kopa & Wisniewski . The great team of the 80’s (2 WC semis & 1 Euro title) was led by Platini (Italy), Tigana (Mali), and Fernandez (Spain).

      • …so someone uses FACTS to show your base assumption was wrong and this is your best retort??? Your conclusion was WRONG. The facts you based your conclusion on were WRONG, and he CALLED YOU out!

        Why not accept it and move on. I don’t know how old you are (in age or in maturity), but if you are ignorant if you assert something without the basis of facts.

        Keep winning, winner (that is sarcasm in case you can’t get it).

      • That is your response? Really? I am an adult, and I usually don’t go off on these boards or take things personally because it’s the web. However, I am a dual citizen with ties to France. So I take dual citizenship discussions and discussions about France personally. Especially, since I lived there in my youth, still speak the language with my Francophone friends and understand delicate aspects of dual citizenship.

        This is where your comment comes in. It is OVERLY simplistic and just WRONG. Whether you like it or not, this is public, open forum. If you make a statement that is wrong and assert it, that is ignorant. People make assertions of the USMNT and FFF that are just wrong, and I make it a point to correct them. 10 mins of online research would shown you otherwise.

        Your comment was wrong! Period. Move on! I didn’t call you names. I didn’t curse at you. I just corrected you. Then you acted with the maturity of my pre-teen nephew.

        Congrats (to borrow Anthony’s line) Winner!

  4. Didnt he grow up in this country and get all the benefits and opportunities of this country? Then he turns his back on us. Not a huge loss, we have other goalkeepers, but this is a society problem. Maybe he can move to colombia and see how his quality of life changes down there.

    • What does that have to do anything? He is as much if not more Colombian as he is American. BOTH his parents are Colombian immigrants and he probably speaks Spanish at home. The NY metro area has a large Colombian population. If both you parents were 10th generation Americans, but you were raised in Belarus, I am sure you would have a strong sense of being an American as well as Belorussian. Judging by his age, his parents came here during the drug wars of the 80’s and early 90’s. As long they are/were contributing members of society, they owe no one anything more. Frankly, with all of the increasing vocal public hate directed at Latinos, I don.t really blame him.

    • He’s playing a soccer GAME, not turning his back on his country. Certainly players have national/cultural pride and yes sometimes strong ties/feelings/connection to more than one. Like it or not, the truth is, a good amount of motivation that drives many players day to day is about promoting/developing a professional career, pride in ones own work/ performance and then leaving it on the field for your team mates and coach. If you think this sort of decision is a problem, you may want to rethink your allegiance to the USMNT. The team is full of, and the history of our country is full of just such folks.

      • Thats the thing with international soccer, yes it is a game but it means so much more. National teams represent a way of life. I am not upset he is leaving, we have lots of solid keepers coming through. Just the lack of pride of many people living in this great country, is disturbing.

      • You really need to get out it (no offense). I don’t know if you have ever lived abroad, but I have on multiple occasions (on three continents) and shared allegiances are not uncommon for expats. Simply being born and raised in a place does not mean you do not have affinity for another country.

        I know I have a different experience for many Americans which is probably why my affinity for such sports as Rugby and Soccer is so strong. Additionally, my understanding for people who have ties to multiple countries is also not shocking.

      • Chris W
        I totally get that patriotism is what drives the passions of many fans. Hey- I feel that. It’s a simple outlet, an escape a rollercoaster of emotions. We trick ourselves into believing it really matters- that it’s life or death, but…. it’s not. It’s a game.

        Meanwhile, behind this illusion created for fans is reality. An industry. It is a bit more nuanced and complex thing for players… thier profession and there are lots of other factors that are driving them. While game day with anthems played, flags waved and fans screaming patriotism is at the forefront… in the day to day grind, patriotism is hardly ever at the top of the list. The fact of the matter is, the Int’l game is THE quickest way to get exposure and promote a players professional career. To literally be set up for a damn wonderful life…. for playing what in the end, is really nothing but a silly game. Like choosing a favorite child, it is possible to have strong emotional connection and loyalty to seperate things. Hey brother- I totally wish they’d all choose USA so I can be happy game day, but that’s kind of selfish, isn’t it.

  5. Nonsense. I’m guessing he speaks Spanish and since both of his parents are Colombian he is well acquainted with Colombian culture. Why play for a racist country like the U.S. when you can represent the country of your ancestors who will welcome you with open arms.

    • yeah, no where in America will you find people who are accepting. I’m sure Columbia is the epicenter of social acceptance as well.

      Your comment really does paint a broad stroke on the American fan base.

      • He has a point. In Colombia they aren’t racist towards other Colombians. There are some parts in the States where some whites are racist to other whites and those are the lucky ones. If you’re black or brown or anything else things just get worse for you.

      • And you are familiar enough with his situation to judge? Or it just fits with some “patriotism through hatred” schtick?

  6. Sucks that someone born and raised has a dream to play for Colombia.

    Americans born and raised here love to say they are Irish, Mexican, Italian, etc when in reality they have almost nothing in common with a real Irishman, Mexican, Italian, etc. These people will really see how American they are when they actually go and spend some time in the country of their ancestry. I assume this kid will realize this as well once he actually spends some time in Colombia.

    • I think it’s different if you are a first generation immigrant like he is, and probably still has family there vs many Irish or Italian or Polish Americans who are 3rd or 4th or 5th generation and really have absolutely zero familial connection besides DNA.

    • His parents are Colombian. That’s a much closer connection than most Irish and Italian Americans, who are mostly at least 3rd generation by now.

    • Dude why are you being so judgmental, I’m a first generation american as well but even though I was raised here I was still raised by my parents and family to embrace the culture they left in there country and I feel more Domincan and Haitian, than American. It happens and its nothing to criticize a 19 year old about.

      • That’s great but you’ve had all the advantages of living here and you should feel some loyalty as well to the USA.

      • This. In fact anyone who doesn’t join the US military is a low life scumbag leech. Heck when I was in the army there were some undocs there (not many anglos for some reason though), and this clown being born here doesn’t even want to represent his country.

      • OK… I have heaps of respect and literal ties to the military and public service, but lets speak some blunt truth. Actually, there are plenty of parallels to Int’l soccer and what drives players…. how each are PROMOTED to the public.

        I know its not in line with the popular meme but…. lots and LOTS- a very high % of people who join the military are NOT doing it out of strong feelings of patriotism or to defend freedom as the primary motivation. They are disproportionally from lower income families with limited options and do so for opportunity to better themselves- to escape difficult living conditions, for college grants, to make a career out of it. On the battlefield, most soldiers will tell you, more than anything, they are fighting for the guy standing next to them- for their brothers in arms.

        Speaking of loyalties- most military actions are not in the interest of the greater good of the nation or common citizen or the country, but for a very partitioned economic benefit of a special class.

      • I do feel loyalty to the USA but you can’t blame the kid, I’d do the same if I were in his situation. Honestly we have better depth at Goalkeeper than Colombia. Outside of Ospina, they don’t have anyone who’s worth mentioning.

  7. What a clown. Considering this guy can’t get anywhere near the Red Bulls first team, I guess I’m not too concerned about him turning his back on the country where he was born and raised. If he’d rather go represent some foreign land, let him go ahead.

      • What a ridiculous statement. We had a national team before JK started his recruiting drive and I might add it was just as successful as the one we have now.

    • This kid is not a clown. He is a kid who overcame a difficult home situation and worked hard to follow his goals and dreams.
      We need more tough kids like Santi and Rubio on our national teams.
      Think before you write.

    • This 19 year old is a “clown” because he can’t crack into the Red Bulls lineup as the sole starting goalie?

      Pitiful comment. You’re a clown.

    • Frankly, Slow, your asinine comments are becoming stale and old. You either lack common sense or empathy. The kid is 19 yrs. old. I hardly expect 1 19 yr to be starting at goalkeeper for any team. If he does, good for him. As most citizens I know, he has split allegiances and feels for both teams. As such, he should go where his heart is. The US has benefited and lost with this factor. It’s the nature of international soccer. Get over it unless you want to be the middle-aged prick yelling at 19 yr kids who were (in all likelihood) better athletes than you ever imagine being.

      • I agree If thats where his heart is, he should maybe even go live there too. Why not go all the way with your loyalty?

      • Runs deeper than that. If he feels such loyalty to Colombia than he should live there. There is a reason that so many Colombians live over here; a higher standard of living. He’s a turn coat who wants to play for Colombia simply because they have a better national team.

      • So no US internationals should ever go play in Europe? After all, their hearts are with the US so they should live here….

      • Never said anything of the sort. I guess it’s easier to misstate my views and argue against something I never said.

      • Who said I was going to yell at him? I just think his decision is asinine. He was born and raised here after his parents chose to leave Colombia to give him a better life, yet he’s falling over himself to represent Colombia.

        Fair enough comment regarding a 19 year old starting in MLS. I agree with that part of your statement.

      • Falling over himself to rep Colombia? In what sense? Not sure why you are desperately trying to paint this kid in such a negative way. Clown.

    • lets look at it for what it is he’s probably been offered more money to play for their program even if he rides the bench. and he makes his parents happy.

      its economics, this is a business if your going to get a raise you’ll take it. natives in this country need to let this strange spurned lover emotion go.

      and folks get used to this as our program grows and develops a lot of players are going to be lost to other countries. the elite players will tend to stay as the endorsement money and higher profile will make them stars here in the states.

      plenty of players now that are on other national teams.

      its part of the reason the concacaf region has gotten stronger. kids of the expats arent good enough to play for the US so they choose country x instead.

      i think its a great indicator of just how much talent there really is here.

  8. Since you brought up Agudelo, it makes you wonder how AJ Soares, who is a fine MLS defender but who hasn’t shown he can play at a higher level can land a club in Serie A, but a young striker who has significant talent and has played and shown flashes at the international level can’t land a contract. It may simply be that Agudelo’s reps are sub-par or that he’s being a bit too choosey, but one of those things that makes me shake my head.

    Hey Ives, how about getting Juan on your podcast to talk through what the hell is going on…

  9. If there’s one position we’re set in it’s keeper. So good for him to choose the team he wants.

    Saying that, this isn’t a Colombian article without mention of Agudelo. Can we trade him back to Colombia for another striker?

    • To say we are set we are set in the position of keeper just show’s your ingnorance to thew sport. we need a keeper that commands presence and has good hand and feet for distribution.
      To call a 19 year old chasing his dream a clownn agains show’s ignorance. This is a business and everyone is just trying to succeed! To think this questions a person’s loyalty to one country or another is just ridiculous! You should be looking at the entity that is choosing who to start and who not to start and the reasons behind those decisions…because clearly in many cases the better player is not being chosen that is the main reason some players chose to go else where…it’s a business and they are looking out for their future and trying to position themselves accordingly!

      Good luck in Columbia Santi!


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