ARLINGTON, Texas — US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann released his 22-man squad for next week’s friendly against Mexico on Thursday, and among the surprise inclusions was Club América left back Edgar Castillo.
“[Klinsmann] called me last night when the roster came out and he said he was happy for me to come into camp,” Castillo said after América’s training session Friday at Cowboys Stadium, where they played FC Barcelona on Saturday. “I was happy to come here to represent the United States.”
América head coach Carlos Reinoso spoke less about Castillo’s call-up and more about double citizenship between the United States and Mexico that two of his players — Castillo and Isaac Acuña — have.
“I would like that they play with the Mexican national team,” he said, “but they have double citizenship and they are going to play for the United States.”
Next Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia also represents the first time Castillo will go head-to-head with América teammate, right back Paul Aguilar. Castillo said no trash talking was involved, but the two had been discussing the always-relevant Mexico-US game.
“We were just talking about that,” Castillo said. “He’ll be on my side. If I get to play I’ll be on his side. He’s a good player, too.”
Media members swarmed Castillo on Friday morning after his club’s two-hour practice to discuss his second international cap with the United States; a cap he wasn’t sure he would ever receive again.
“I didn’t really expect to be called up, but I got called up,” he admitted. “It’s going to be a good game. We know how they play. It’s always going to be a good game.”
The 24-year-old New Mexico native received his first and — up until Thursday — his only call-up in his US national team career in 2009, when he played 30 minutes in the second half of a friendly against Denmark in Aarhus.
Castillo is joined by three other players from Mexico’s Primera División in San Luis’ Michael Orozco Fiscal, Puebla’s DaMarcus Beasley and Pachuca’s José Francísco Torres. However, Castillo admitted that he has a lot of faces to learn in the US locker room next week.
“I don’t know the guys and I get to meet the guys, so I’m happy,” he said.
The 5-foot-7 left back played the full 90 in Club América’s last league game against Estudiantes Tecos and said he and Klinsmann didn’t dive into details over where he will play, something that doesn’t bother him.
“He didn’t say anything,” Castillo said. “I would rather play at left back, but wherever he puts me I would love to play.”
The humble player caused a stir after the 2011 Gold Cup, saying he could do a better job than US national-teamer Jonathan Bornstein. On Friday, he took a different approach, seeming self-deprecating when describing the qualities that he brings to the national team — one desperate for a consistent left back.
“I don’t bring anything,” he said. “[I] Just try to get at players and do what the coaches want me to do with my teammates so we can win on Wednesday.”