American Exports: Refreshed by bold Atlas move, Edgar Castillo keeps USMNT hopes alive

Edgar Castillo, Atlas, closeup

Photo Credit: 
Mexsport

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Edgar Castillo made a bold move this summer in exchanging Club Tijuana for Guadalajara-based Atlas. And he is aiming to impress for his new club, with the hope his country will come calling once again after he missed out on the World Cup.

The 27-year-old left back is at his seventh Liga MX club and the transfer was slightly surprising, considering that he had consolidated himself with Xolos after a rocky couple of years beforehand in which he failed to establish himself at Tigres, San Luis, Puebla and Club América.

But the Las Cruces, N.M., native – who wears the No. 1 shirt for Los Rojinegros – says he was open to moving and was happy to let his friend and fellow American Greg Garza take over at left back for Tijuana. 

And he seems to have joined Atlas at the right time.

Following TV Azteca’s takeover last December, the club has been gradually restructuring and was busy in the transfer market ahead of the Apertura 2014, with coach Tomás Boy bringing in the likes of Colombian international Aldo Leao and Mexico’s Juan Carlos Medina.

“I think I’ve made a good move,” Castillo – who also had interest from Brazil – told MLSsoccer.com after Atlas’ 0-0 draw against Tigres UANL last Saturday. “[Atlas] is a whole different thing now: a better club, better owners, good teammates.”

Castillo said the preseason went well and that he is enjoying a budding partnership down the left with Brazilian Maikon Leite, which showed early signs of promise on Saturday.

In terms of the national team, Castillo talked in a press conference on Monday on his disappointment about missing out on the World Cup, but stressed he is now looking ahead to the future with the Stars and Stripes.

“For me, it’s the past,” he said. “Now I want to have a good tournament and I hope to be in [Jurgen Klinsmann’s] future call-ups.

“He called good players like [DaMarcus] Beasley and [Fabian] Johnson [to the World Cup as left backs],” he added. “A week before, he told me I wasn’t going. I told him, ‘Thanks for everything.’”

Asked if he regretted the decision earlier in his career to switch from Mexico to the United States, Castillo was adamant that he didn’t.

“Honestly, no,” he said. “I think I did well for the United States in all the calls from Klinsmann.”

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.