The Houston Dynamo have signed their youngest-ever Homegrown Player, as the club announced Monday that 15-year-old midfielder Juan Castilla has signed a pre-contract that’s effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Castilla joined the Dynamo academy in 2016 at the U-12 level and was a key part of the Dynamo’s U-17 squad that qualified for the Generation adidas Cup Final earlier this year at Houston Sports Park.
“Juan has worked his way up through our academy to earn this opportunity, and his quality as a player along with his strong mentality and willingness to learn exemplify what we look for in all of our young players,” Dynamo SVP and GM Matt Jordan said in a statement. "I'd also like to acknowledge the leadership of our academy director Paul Holocher and the hard work and commitment from our academy staff to help Juan get to this point, understanding that this is the next step in the development process."
Castilla was one of four Dynamo youth players that head coach Tab Ramos had preseason trips to Tucson, Ariz., and Rio Grande Valley before the 2020 season. He’s set to train with the first team and compete with the academy for the remainder of the year.
“Juan is an outstanding young midfielder with an excellent combination of technical quality, composure and game insight,” Holocher said. “When a player from the Academy becomes a professional it is always exciting, but in this case it is extra special as Juan started with the academy from a young age and he has Houston in his heart. It is going to be exciting to see him continue to develop and grow as a young professional.”
Castilla, who was born in Colombia, becomes the 13th Dynamo academy player to sign a professional contract. Last week, Houston also signed Nico Lemoine to a Homegrown contract from the club’s USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC.