Edgar Castillo was looking for a change of scenery as his playing time diminished at Monterrey in Liga MX.
As he searched for a new destination, one of his former U.S. Men’s National Team teammates chimed in with some advice as the full back garnered MLS interest.
With help from suggestions by goalkeeper Tim Howard, Castillo joined the Colorado Rapids on loan for the 2018 season.
“I was talking to (Howard) every day about coming here and it came true,” Castillo told SBI. “He, like other people, pushed for me to be here.”
“I had the chance to come here and in Mexico I wasn’t playing much so I had to make a decision to stay in Mexico or I had other options and one of the other options was MLS. I think I picked the best option coming to MLS,” Castillo said.
Castillo played for the USMNT after making a one-time switch from Mexico, the same type of decision his teammate at Monterrey, Jonathan Gonzalez, went through recently.
Castillo had a small talk with the 18-year-old, who had his one-time switch from the United States to Mexico confirmed last week.
“I didn’t get to talk to him much, but he told me, ‘I don’t know what to do’,” Castillo said. “I told him he has to make the best decision for you. Talk to your parents and make the best decision. The U.S. didn’t make the World Cup and that’s what he was thinking about too because he wanted to play in a World Cup.”
After spending over a decade in Mexico playing with Santos Laguna, Club America, Club Tijuana, Atlas, Monterrey and others, Castillo admitted the switch to MLS will be a big one for him, but everyone in Colorado has been more than helpful with the transition so far.
“Everything is going good. They’re good people,” Castillo said. “They treat me good. That’s the good thing when you come to a new club, a new place. It’s a big change for me because I’ve been in Mexico for 13 years and now I’m here playing in MLS and I’m very happy to do that.”
Castillo is a part of a group of new acquisitions brought in by manager Anthony Hudson that also includes Tommy Smith and Jack Price from the Championship as well as Swedish midfielder Johan Blomberg, who came in on a free transfer.
The 31-year-old left back will be asked to bring the wealth of experience from his time in Mexico into the side, especially as the club prepares for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Toronto FC at the end of February, a competition that could see the Rapids play a Mexican side in the semifinals if they knock off the defending MLS Cup champion.
“In Champions League, it’s a pretty good tournament. For us, we’ve brought new pieces in and have a new coach and all that stuff,” Castillo said. “We know it’s going to be a hard game. There’s no worries about that though since we’re having a good preseason and we’re getting mentally prepared for that game.”
Castillo is hoping his experience combined with that of the new signings and players like Howard can help the Rapids rebound from a rough 2017 in which the club fired manager Pablo Mastroeni and finished 10th in the Western Conference with 33 points.
“I can bring my experience and not only my experience from other players that are here to have a good season,” Castillo said.