SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Estadio Nacional is a long way from Thousand Oaks, Calif., where Derby Carrillo made a name for himself as a standout goalkeeper for semi-pro club Cal FC.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles-area native’s amazing journey continued, as he kept a clean sheet in El Salvador’s 1-0 win over Belize in the third-place game of the Copa Centroamericana, the 25-year-old’s first cap at the international level.
“It’s a dream come true,” a beaming Carillo said. “Coming all the way from Los Angeles, to get to Costa Rica with the Salvadoran national team, it’s something I dreamed about as a kid.”
Carrillo played for Eric Wynalda in Cal FC’s famous run through the 2012 US Open Cup, in which the upstart bunch knocked off MLS side Portland in their run to the fourth round of the tournament.
“A year ago ... I was nowhere,” the St. John’s alum said. “I didn’t have a team. A year later and to be playing for a national team is something incredible, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”
By playing for El Salvador in the Central American championship, the dual-national American is officially cap-tied to the nation of his parents’ birth, and cannot represent another country at the international level. But that was the least of the 6-foot-4 netminder’s concerns on this afternoon.
“It’s been a privilege to represent the azul y blanco,” Carrillo said. “The guys brought me in with open arms, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Former US youth international and MLSer Gerson Mayen, who officially switched FIFA allegiances last year, also turned out for the Cuscatlecos in Costa Rica, earning his first senior caps with El Salvador.