This long-form piece was written for and originally published by MLSsoccer.com, as part of the “24 under 24” series.
Usually breakfast doesn’t come with dessert. However, one particular mid-summer morning turned out to be among the sweetest in Fabián Castillo’s life.
He woke up, greeted his wife, caressed his nine-month daughter and, as any other day, had breakfast at his home in the Dallas suburbs.
The sudden ring of the telephone interrupted his customary routine.
– “Hello, is this Fabián?” requested a hoarse, and somewhat familiar voice, on the other side of the receiver.
– “Who is it?” countered an intrigued Castillo.
– “It’s José Néstor Pékerman,” the voice on the phone answered back with certainty.
The following milliseconds worked in Castillo’s favor, as he found a breath again while staring at his telephone trying to find an explanation.
“I was cold and confused. Was he serious?” Castillo recalls now. “It was totally unexpected and I think that if I hadn’t had breakfast, I would have fainted.”
The conversation was as fluent as Castillo’s anxiety, and Pékerman explained to the young winger about the opportunity he wanted to give him with the Colombian national team. Castillo was going to be called up for the first time to the senior squad, for a friendly against Peru at Red Bull Arena.
“He asked me what I thought, and I obviously said yes, that I wanted to be part of this amazing group of players he’s built,” said Castillo a few days later. “It was a lovely moment for me, because the coach himself called me. I didn’t find out through a press conference, or the Internet.
“The coach himself called me!”
To read the complete piece, please click on this link.