Vail Valley’s Cesar Castillo’s fiance moved wedding so he could play for Team USA
Castillo will get married Friday, then play an arena friendly against Mexico on Saturday
When local soccer legend Cesar Castillo steps onto the turf Saturday night with the United States National Arena Soccer Team for an international match against Mexico, he says it’ll be his biggest thrill in almost a whole day.
Castillo’s fiancée, Shila, is so awesome that she agreed to move their wedding day from Saturday to Friday, so Cesar could play.
The happy couple will get married Friday, fly to Boise, Idaho, for the Saturday night match against Mexico, then leave Sunday for a trip.
“August is a huge month for us,” Castillo said.
You’ll be happy to know that Castillo took the long-term perspective. When the call came that he had been chosen for his second start with the arena national team, and that the match was this weekend, he thought first of his adorable bride to be.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
“I told the team I’m getting married this weekend,” Castillo said. “They said, ‘Great! Bring her with you!’”
As good as their word, the national team sent Cesar and Shila his-and-hers plane tickets.
“We’re trying to make everyone happy,” Castillo said.
Everyone, sure, but mostly Shila. They’ve been together eight years, so she knows what she’s getting into.
“I’m really excited for Cesar. It’s everything he has wanted for soccer.” Shila said.
Shila loves Cesar and loves watching him play. She attends as many games as possible … “He plays a lot!” … just about every weekend in the summer.
So they made it work, shifting the wedding date from Saturday to Friday. Everything else was pretty easy, Shila said.
“His family is doing a huge part of the wedding, so that made it pretty simple,” Shila said.
Cesar among soccer’s greats
Saturday’s match between the U.S. and Mexico is in Boise, Idaho’s CenturyLink Arena. It’s billed as an international friendly.
Then again …
“Any time the U.S. and Mexico play it’s not exactly a friendly,” Castillo said. “It’s going to be a tough game.”
American soccer legends Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will play for the Americans. Donovan, who plays for the San Diego Sockers in the Major Arena Soccer League, is the all-time leader in assists for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He shares the all-time scoring lead with Dempsey, and owns the second-most international caps. Donovan won a record six MLS Cups, owns the league’s all-time record for assists at 136, and is now the namesake for the league’s MVP award — the Landon Donovan MVP Award.
“Me and my buddies grew up watching him play. It’s an honor to play with him and all these other great players from both countries,” Castillo said.
Castillo made his international arena soccer debut last April against Brazil in the Corn Palace Cup in Mitchell, South Dakota.
“Wearing the USA jersey and hearing the national anthem … I have no words for that. As a soccer player it’s something you dream about as a kid,” Castillo said.
Castillo attracted the attention of the international soccer community when the Vail Valley’s FC Freedom reached the semifinals of the Premier Arena Soccer League national tournament last spring in Cincinnati. Castillo scored six goals in two games — so yeah, he got noticed.
That’s about the time Kevin Milliken, Pan American Minifutbol Federation chief, strolled over to Castillo, tapped him on the shoulder and said something like, “We’d like you to play for the national team against Brazil.”
Castillo decided he’d like that, too, and that’s how Castillo started international soccer.
Arena soccer is six players per side.
“In the six-per-side format, you need one-on-one skills. You have to be able to take on a guy and beat him,” Milliken said. “We picked Cesar because of his skill set.”
The Corn Palace is a basketball arena. Saturday’s match in Boise is in an arena like the one in WECMRD’s field house in Edwards, where Castillo plays with Freedom FC.