Thursday, July 24, 2008

Edgar in the Times

Edgar Castillo was profiled in the New York Times on Wednesday.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, there may be little new information in there that you haven't already come across here. But his story is clearly of interest to more than just soccer fans as a whole new audience has now been exposed to his tale.

It never ceases to amaze me how he was completely looked over by American youth coaches. Castillo was a star as a sophomore in high school. He was in the system already but couldn't progress further in the ranks of the American system. And now, watching him play for Santos we're all left wondering how this guy was deemed not good enough to play at the next level.

When talking about him to a colleague recently, I think my exact phrase was 'What dickhead coach didn't think he could play?'

It's funny, though, when you think about a couple of our Sangre americana boys. Not necessarily Castillo because he went down to Mexico to try out for Santos, but Jose Francisco Torres and Michael Orozco. Both of those guys were scouted here in the United States by Mexican scouts. Who the heck knows where the American scouts were and what they were looking for but those players' doors were opened by Mexican teams and plucked right from underneath American coaches' noses. US Soccer should consider themselves lucky that Orozco accepted the call and that Torres still considers the US an option if he receives the call again.

And you wonder how many more players are out there that don't fit the mold, that have the talent and ability to compete at the highest leve, but are being overlooked?

Anyway, didn't mean to get off on that tangent. As far as Castillo's story, there is a slight error. Noel Castillo is with Indios but not the first division Indios. Edgar's bro is with Indios Chihuahua of the Primera A division. But it's a good thing he was included because I'd lost track of him. He played 14 minutes in the season opener last week. I'll add him to our list of Mexican-Americans.


East River said...

We have discussed before that too many American coachs and scouts value size over technical ability. The story also mention that coachs wanted these players to play more defense were the Mexican scout didnt have a problem with that. Right now scouting is not where it needs to be in this country. Mexican teams have good scouts and they are digging around the US looking for talent. But not only do the Mexican clubs look at the US. Pachuca has affilated itself with a team in Puerto Rico, River Plate has River Plate PR and River Plate Domninican Republic and Sevilla from Spain also has a team in Puerto Rico. Where is MLS at? Down in Argentina getting overrated players. MLS has good potential players all around but it has yet to take advantage. American/MLS scouts or teams have got to open their minds to what is out there.

Beax Speax said...

Agree with East River's comments. In any sport, it's a lot easier to go with someone who meets certain physical 'specs' rather than skills and heart (paging Ryan Leaf...).

Kudos to the Mexican clubs (can't believe I'm saying that!) for exposing the MLS scouting system. I hope it forces both US soccer and MLS to raise their game.

microbrew said...

The NY Times article hints at what went wrong:
"Garibay said he thought Castillo’s thin 5-foot-8 frame might have been one factor. Castillo agreed that his size had hurt him. He said United States coaches were generally too easily impressed with the build of young players.

“It is more about being bigger and stronger,” he said. “And I’m a little guy.”"

greg y said...

There's also the problem that "the system" pretty much means club teams, which = parents who can afford it. Some good players only play high school ball and so are overlooked. Some other recent examples besides Castillo: UCLA's David Estrada and Chivas USA's Jorge Flores, both of whom were off the US Soccer radar until they got extremely lucky (Estrada walked on at UCLA and became Soccer America's Freshman of the Year; Flores won the 'Sueno' reality show / open tryout and now gets minutes in most Chivas games). You wonder how many others, with less luck, are out there.

Anonymous said...

That's the biggest obstacle I think, is getting over the size over skill mentality. When people talk about Jozy Altidore, the first thing that comes out of people's mouths is talk about his size and then skill. It makes you wonder if someone like Messi would've been overlooked in the US system simply because of his size.

East River said...

If US Soccer and MLS scouts are over looking player b/c of them playing only high school soccer thats on them. They should be looking under the bed and under a rock for players. If River Plate and Pachuca can look at players in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republica then surely we can take the time to look at some kids playing high school soccer. This whole kids get seen by playing on a youth team is just stupid. They have to look at the obvious and not so obvious when trying to find talent.