Athlete Spotlight: John Castro

For John Castro, a sports management junior and defender for the Patriots’ men’s soccer team, finding his way to FMU has allowed him to continue playing the sport he loves and to pursue his degree.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Castro was kicking a ball around from the age of seven.

“Soccer in Colombia is a big sport; it’s kind of like basketball for you guys,” Castro said. “I’ve been playing since I was seven.”

He played seriously until his young adulthood when Luis Rincon, then head coach for the men’s soccer program at Ohio Valley University (OVU), contacted him.

“When Luis contacted me, I realized this really great opportunity,” Castro said. “I took the chance and tried to take advantage of it.”

However, two years into his career at OVU, he had to go back to Colombia.

“There was some trouble back home, so I wasn’t able to keep playing soccer here in the United States,” Castro said.

As luck would have it, when Rincon signed on as the head coach for the Patriots, his path would cross with Castro’s once again.

“When I was back in Columbia, I kept playing; but when Luis called me back, I didn’t have to think too much to say, ‘Yes,’” Castro said. “It is a huge opportunity, not only because of soccer, but the degree also; and the language – I am trying to improve it.”

Castro said his dream was to play soccer; however, soccer was not the only thing to draw him to FMU.

“I did my research,” Castro said. “I was looking on the internet about the campus and the university, and I was really surprised with the campus we have here. It is a really nice campus.”

Now, looking at his future at FMU, he has plans for his role on the team.

“I am the oldest on the team,” Castro said. “I am supposed to be the mature guy. I want to play; I want to show that I can play in the starting eleven. The thing is, when you go to a place and you are the oldest guy, you have to prove what you have.

With his competitive nature, it is no wonder that his ambition does not only apply to the sport he loves.

“You have to prove that you are the best every single day,” Castro said. “Not only in soccer, but in every single aspect of your life, you have to prove that you are the best. But when I say prove it, prove it not to the rest of the people, but to yourself.”

Soccer is not Castro’s only goal. While he is in the U.S. for the sport, he is also here for the educational and career opportunities this country provides. Even with his sports management degree, Castro said it would still be hard to find a good-paying job in Colombia.

“I am waiting on all the options I have,” Castro said. “Colombia is not the easiest place to find a really good job. This country has a lot of opportunities, not just for the North American people, but for international students. So, I am still looking for all of the options that I have.”

The only other thing Castro loves as much as soccer would be the kitchen. He enjoys cooking for himself and for others, much to the enjoyment of his teammates who live with him.

“I love to cook,” Castro said. “Right now, I am cooking something for them; I am cooking lunch.”

It seems that one aspect of being the oldest on the team is certainly showing through – he is planning on proving himself on the field, but for now he is proving himself in the kitchen.