Fabian Castillo's Colombia call emboldens FC Dallas boss Oscar Pareja: "The whole world is looking at MLS"

FRISCO, Texas—First called up to the Colombian national team August 28, FC Dallas midfielder Fabian Castillo hit the pitch days later for Los Cafeteros.

The 23-year-old terror was summoned off the bench for Colombia's 1-1 draw against Peru at Red Bull Arena on September 8, replacing AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca in the 59th minute. Castillo proved aggressive in his international debut, firing two shots in limited minutes.

“It was one of my favorite moments in my life,” said Castillo, through a translator. “I’m hoping I get many more to come.”

With Castillo – who chose MLS over opportunities elsewhere as an 18-year-old in 2011, developing much of his game in the US – receiving a call-up to one of the world’s premier national teams, FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja believes the league is becoming even more of a destination for foreign talent.

“I think [it's] not just South Americans, but the whole world is looking at Major League Soccer and seeing how [players] have been called up for the World Cup,” said Pareja. “And then some others, like Fabian, playing for the national team, which is very successful with wingers and forwards, they turn their eyes to Major League Soccer. So we’re proud, and think the impact for South Americans is huge.

Training with Colombia only a week, Castillo said there wasn’t quite enough time to truly soak in many lessons, but he did gain an understanding of the level of accountability that comes with representing for country.

“There’s a lot of trust to be able to play for the national team,” Castillo said. “Obviously, since they gave me that trust, I feel comfortable training and playing with the national team. I’ll bring that same thing to [FC Dallas], where they also give me trust. That makes me feel comfortable on the field.”

Pareja, capped 11 times by Colombia as a player (3 goals), has successfully recruited and developed a wealth of South American talent for Dallas since taking over as head coach in 2014. Colombian winger Michael Barrios has found his stride over the last month, Argentine playmaker Mauro Diaz has dazzled when not battling injuries, and Uruguayan striker David Texeira has played steady minutes since the summer.

“It has been a great opportunity and well-deserved for Fabian," Pareja said. "He’s worked a lot over the last few years to get a chance to show his skills and why he has done well in our league.”

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