Kaká, Fabian Castillo aim to participate in Copa America Centenario this summer

Kaka - Orlando City SC - Solo, close up

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – The Copa America Centenario is coming this summer to the United States and there is sure to be MLS players involved in the tournament.

That may include two players who could be involved for South American national teams, FC Dallas winger Fabian Castillo and Orlando City SC midfielder Kaká.

The duo spoke about their ambitions to play in the first edition of South America’s championship to take place outside of the continent during separate media roundtable discussions with reporters in Southern California last week.

“I would love to represent the team and play in the Copa America, and it’s one of my biggest goals this year,” Castillo said via translator. “I believe it’s what every player wants to do, represent my country in what I love to do.”

“Hopefully!” said Kaká in Spanish, when asked if he thought he would play for Brazil. “Hopefully I can play in the Copa America. I’ll do my best.”

The two hopefuls arrive at this summer’s tournament in very different positions in their national team careers. While Castillo received his first call-ups, including a substitute appearance for Colombia in World Cup qualifying last year, Kaká is the elder statesman for Brazil, having won the 2002 World Cup as a 17-year-old and continuing to get sporadic call-ups last year, his first in MLS.

As a result, although Castillo has work to do to end up on the same roster as the likes of 2014 World Cup breakout star James Rodriguez, he says the quality of Colombian players around the world drives him to raise his game.

“It’s a huge motivation to see other Colombians play, it’s really exciting. I would love to be on that level, playing with everyone else on that team,” he said.

Kaká was asked if he would be the leader of the Brazilian roster if he makes the Copa America roster. He said that while Barcelona star Neymar was the on-field leader for the national team, the roster will likely be full of leaders in the locker room. That said, Kaká made it clear he would be willing to play his role if called upon.

He also noted the importance of the tournament for Brazil, despite coming in the same summer as the Rio Olympics. In essence, every game is key for Brazil, no matter the competition.

“For Brazil now, everything is important.”