The Brazilian Bull
Marcello Castro Dominates NEC Awards
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:11
There have been many great athletes to walk the halls of Sacred Heart University, but none of them have quite had the reputation of men’s soccer star Marcello Castro.
Hailing from Parana, Brazil, Castro, a senior, is a different breed of athlete.
“He’s not good, he’s excellent,” said men’s soccer head coach Joe Barroso.
Excellent is the most modest way to put Castro’s career at Sacred Heart. He has been awarded titles upon titles. Earlier this month, Castro was named the NEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and the NEC Defensive Player of the Year for a third consecutive season, the only player in the history of the conference to achieve that honor.
He also received his third consecutive All-NEC First Team selection, as the defenseman finished up his Pioneer career fifth on the school’s all-time goals list.
“Marcello is the perfect leader,” said Barroso. “He works harder than anyone at practice and is a leader on and off the field.”
But Castro did not get to be this good overnight – it has taken unwavering dedication to get to this point of his soccer career.
“I had to work out a lot more when I got here,” said Castro.
It took his whole freshman year to adapt to the American style of play.
“It is different in Brazil,” explained Castro. “It is less physical and more technical.”
Barroso, his coach of four years, more than recognizes the work ethic and talent of his departing superstar.
“He could play at any other school in the United States and it wouldn’t matter,” said Barroso.
So, why did Castro choose Sacred Heart?
“Sacred Heart chose me,” said Castro. “I am very lucky to be here.”
As fate would have it, Castro had a cousin that lived in Bridgeport and he decided to check out the nearby Sacred Heart campus.
“The coaches spoke Portuguese,” said Castro. “So, it was easy for me to communicate.”
With his time at Sacred Heart rapidly dwindling, Castro has both conventional and ambitious goals for his future.
“I want to make sure that I graduate,” said Castro. “If I don’t get drafted [by a professional soccer team], I can still use my degrees and skills to work for a company.”
In the classroom, Castro is a business administration and marketing double major, while, in between the lines, he has a plethora of fond memories.
“Sophomore year,” said Castro, “there were a lot of great moments, But, this year, my stats were better because I adapted and it was much easier to play.”
Now, with talk of Castro taking his game to the professional level, many who know him are beginning to chime in.
“He is definitely good enough,” said Barroso.
Even Castro is starting to chime in.
“If I could have my pick,” said Castro, “I would play for Barcelona, but that is dreaming high. I would not mind playing for the Red Bulls. I know the area and it is close.”
Not close enough for Sacred Heart fans.