After a tough 2018 season, Robert Castellanos is excited for a better 2019.
An important lesson in sports, also life, is that sometimes things don’t go your way. It’s how you react in those times that truly defines you as a person and athlete. In 2018, Robert Castellanos played his first season with Rio Grande Valley FC. Unfortunately, he did not do a ton of actual playing for the Houston Dynamo affiliate. The central defender played in only eight matches, logging under 500 total minutes.
“I felt like I was able to help the team out when ever I was needed and called up. I did my best to lead and contribute to the team during tough games so we could get a result,” Castellanos says. He carried an 83% tackle success rate in his appearances.
While the Palmdale, California native was happy to contribute when called upon, any athlete wants to be out there every match. Same as last year, he says he is always ready to compete with Kyle Adams and Conor Donovan, who were both announced to return in 2019. “They are both great center -backs and I feel like the team this year will have a stronger defense so with the competition we have, it’s only going to push us to work on every aspect of our game,” Castellanos explains. “We all have a great relationship together in the center back role so at the end of the day, it’s just who the coaching staff feels are the two best players in that moment.”
Of that aforementioned center-back group, also potentially including Omar Ontiveros, Castellanos is the youngest by a few years. Carrying the distinction of being one of the younger, more hip players in the locker room, I had to ask what are a couple of songs that are a required on any pre-match playlist. He answered “Nonstop” by Drake and “NI BIEN NI MAL” by Bad Bunny. Speaking of music, who are the best dancers on this team returning from last year? “Conor (Donovan) and Chuy (Enriquez),” says Castellanos.
It was not a dance party after last season for Castellanos. Instead, he got right back to work. He says, “I just kept training, stayed with my personal trainer, David Nunez, in Temecula during the whole off season. He kept me in shape and helped me on things I had to better on for the upcoming season.”
When it comes to the 2019 season, Castellanos will get the chance to play a second year under RGVFC head coach Gerson Echeverry. He explains that it’s really important to have a year under his belt with the boss. “He was able to see what I’m capable of and what I can offer to the team,” he adds. After missing the playoffs in 2017 & 2018, Castellanos thinks the Toros could make their return to the postseason. “With the returners we have and a couple of newly added players, I see the team this year much stronger then our previous year,” he says.
“We have a better base and foundation with the squad and I’m confident to say that with the coaching staff and players all on the same page, we are capable of making the playoffs and being within the top four teams in our conference.”
Toros fans and the Stampede will be happy to hear that as we head closer towards the fourth season in the club’s history. RGVFC will play against two college teams, UTRGV and Houston Baptist University, before facing USL Championship sides Austin Bold and San Antonio FC to close out their preseason. The 2019 season officially gets underway March 8th when the club travels to face Tacoma Defiance, formerly known as Seattle Sounders 2. You can count on Robert Castellanos being a major part of the defensive rotation on match days and working his tail off at every training behind the scenes.