EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC has always stated its ambition to grow and develop the youth soccer landscape across the city of El Paso, already seeing great success from the local level all the way up to national competition.
With the hiring of Alex Pozo and Desiree Castillo to its Youth Soccer staff, Locomotive demonstrates that it remains committed to continue taking steps forward that will give youth in El Paso opportunities to compete and succeed.
“Our Youth Soccer department is getting larger, more diverse, and more skilled every day and we cannot be more excited about the hiring of Desiree and Alex,” El Paso Locomotive Academy Director Ivan Militar said. “We believe that this project in Youth Soccer is special, and we need special people to help us achieve our goals.”
Pozo, College Recruiting Coordinator for the Locomotive Academy, joins the team having previously worked at the Arizona Soccer Association and Barcelona Residency Academy, where he coached current Locomotive player Miles Lyons as well as Locomotive alum and finalist for 2021 USL Championship Young Player of the Year, Diego Luna.
Pozo will work with college coaches of all levels across the nation to streamline the recruiting process for Locomotive Academy players, opening doors for them to compete at the collegiate level and obtain higher education.
“El Paso Locomotive is a competitive and passionate club that is going to develop kids to give them the best opportunities to succeed,” he said.
One of Pozo’s many duties will be to create individual profiles for each player in the Academy’s database, to help them understand their skillsets and what colleges around the country are looking for players that match said skillset. As for college coaches, the individual profiles would provide them with detailed information about the players they’re scouting or looking to scout.
Pozo believes “that every player in the Locomotive Academy should be given the option to go to college” and that his role in the recruitment process will be critical to ensure that those doors are opened for them to walk through.
As for Castillo, Registrar of Youth Soccer and Programs as well as the Locomotive Girls Team Coach, she will have a hand in a lot of the club’s youth development efforts. An El Paso native, Castillo comes from a grassroots soccer background, having coached girls ages of 4 and 10 after earning her grassroots coaching license.
In addition to registering other club and Academy teams to various tournaments and showcases across the nation, her focus will lie in enhancing the experience of Locomotive’s current girls' team and exploring ways to grow the women’s game locally.
“No matter what their goal is, I want to provide girls with opportunities to get to where they want to reach when they come to Locomotive,” Castillo said.
Having seen her potential when coaching out in the community, Director of Youth Soccer and Programs Colin Herlinger was excited to bring her on board.
“The passion I saw in her for women's youth soccer in this area was very exciting,” Herlinger said. “When someone is young and motivated — with little direction or previous instruction — and can create a program with nearly 100 kids, it really tells you a lot about their character. We are excited to have her passion and knowledge on board, and to see how much we can grow our club with her guidance.”
Now, with a bigger platform, Castillo will have an opportunity to reshape the city’s female soccer landscape through the girls' team at Locomotive.
“My goal is to focus on the girls who are here now and make their experience one to remember,” she said. “From there, we can help bring more female coaches to the sport and grow women’s soccer in El Paso.”