October 31, 2011
By Jessica Coscia
Having grown up in Texas, a place where football transcends class, spirituality and ethnicity, a love for the game came naturally for Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo. His path toward a successful career in the National Football League, however, did not come as easily.
His is not a “rags to riches” story, but a classic example of achieving the “American Dream” through hard work and determination. Castillo’s parents, born in Mexico, took a leap of faith as teenagers to move to the small border town of Port Isabel in search of a better life.
The first-generation Mexican-American, from modest beginnings, has never let race or social status stand in his way. The passion, perseverance and work ethic that his hard-working immigrant parents instilled in him, he says, are the values that drive him.
Though he always dreamed of playing professionally, he openly admits that wanting to be a professional football player and becoming one are two very different things. His playing career came to a halt after playing at Texas A&I-Kingsville (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) and then professionally with the USFL’s San Antonio Gunslingers.
Where one door closed, another opened when Castillo was encouraged to coach football. He has since honed in on his coaching skills and risen up through the coaching ranks.
Recently promoted to defensive coordinator after 16 years on the offense, the veteran coach was in critics' crosshairs after the Eagles – dubbed the "Dream Team" in preseason – lost four games in a row.
Castillo, no stranger to adversity, never panicked. The birds have seemingly found their stride and won two consecutive games against NFC East division rivals – including a 34-7 blowout against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night on national television.
The Eagles still have a chance at the Super Bowl if they play hard, play fast and stick to fundamentals, Castillo believes.
Source: Fox News Latino