From Tacoma to San Diego, Jacob Castro continues to play with passion – the Daily Aztec

The kid who had grown up in mud-covered clothes was now sitting on the sidelines with a clean jersey.

Prior to leading one of San Diego state’s strongest men’s soccer teams, sophomore goalie Jacob Castro was a member of the University of Washington.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Castro did not intend to become an Aztec. He wanted to be a Huskie.

Constant rains drenched his hometown, making the playgrounds muddy and his clothes soaking wet. But that didn’t bother him.

Because it was in the rain-soaked mud fields of Tacoma that Castro first discovered his passion for football.

“When I was younger, I loved diving into the dirt in Washington,” Castro said. “It was raining a lot so the ground would get really muddy and I would have a lot of fun diving and being all messy.”

Castro wanted to replicate this childhood fervor during his college career. As a Huskie, he thought he would have that chance.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Washington University since I was a kid,” Castro said. “My parents were influential and they wanted to watch my games in person. I absolutely loved the campus, the coaches were great guys and the team was great. It really attracted me to go play for them.

Playing time, however, was hard to come by. The environment was great and he considered his teammates like his brothers. The Huskies have even qualified for the NCAA championships in consecutive seasons, finishing in the Elite Eight both times.

He did a red shirt in the first season. But the second season only saw Castro step onto the pitch twice.

If he wanted grass and mud stains on his jersey, a change of scenery was in order.

As a child, his life revolved around football. Castro grew up watching the Sounders in his hometown of Seattle and started watching the Premier League when he entered Spanaway Lake High School.

In high school, he found another sport he could be good at: soccer.

As a senior, Castro served as both a wide receiver and a punter. He caught 20 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns while his longest punt totaled 56 yards.

While he preferred to stay on the football field, Castro’s time on the grill did not go unnoticed as he caught Spanaway Lake’s attention as a potential college wide receiver.

However, another opportunity presented itself, bigger than any college football opportunity. While playing for Washington Premier FC – a club team located in Puyallup, Wash. – one of his coaches reached out to the Sounders to gauge the team’s interest in the young goalkeeper.

The Sounders’ coaches attended one of Castro’s games and, enjoying what they saw, offered him the chance to play for their developmental football team known as the Seattle Sounders Academy.

Upon arriving at the academy, a wide-eyed Castro got a first-person perspective on what it takes to reach the pros.

“They would sort of put you in that professional environment. The coaches were very professional and so were the players, especially with the way they looked after their bodies and their diet, ”said Castro. “I arrived quite inexperienced and learned a lot from the academy. “

Castro spent 2017 training with the academy before making two appearances for the Seattle Sounders FC 2 squad in 2018.

With professional training under his belt, Castro set his sights on college football. Although he received many offers from different universities, he kept in mind the areas he immersed himself in as a child.

When the University of Washington – the school he had grown up wanting to attend – came to call him, it didn’t take long for him to pledge allegiance to the Huskies.

But after two seasons the question of playing time arose and Castro was faced with a difficult decision: to stay with the school of his childhood or to bet on himself and transfer to get more action?

Castro chose the latter and entered the transfer portal. Once again, coaches came to call him, gauging his interest and sharing their visions for the future.

SDSU head coach Ryan Hopkins was the man who sold Castro the potential of the SDSU. Castro saw it himself, as the Aztecs were a Pac-12 team with the Huskies and were one of two teams he had to face on the field.

“I spoke with Ryan Hopkins and he went over everything he was trying to do over the next few years and what he is trying to build here in San Diego State,” Castro said. “I was bought and I believed it. And we did.

In Hopkins’ first year as a head coach, the SDSU recorded a 1-7-2 record with three one-goal losses. In his second year at the helm, SDSU went 8-7-2 with improved offense and more experienced roster.

It also helps that his starting goalie was one of the best to don the scarlet and black in a long time.

Yes, San Diego might not get as much rain as Tacoma. His fields might not be so muddy either. But, for at least 90 minutes on match day, Castro can do what he always wanted to do – dive in and play football.

About Dale Whyte

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