FRISCO, Texas - One of the best things about preseason is the infectious optimism flowing through everyone associated with the club and one man who was all smiles at Saturday morning's first training session was 21-year-old winger Fabian Castillo.
Having arrived nearly three years ago as a precocious 18-year-old, Castillo lived with now-FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja for a time when he first arrived in the United States and he says the new boss is the perfect man for the job.
"I was really happy when I heard that he was coming," Castillo told FCDallas.com through a translator. "He’s a guy that is very familiar with the club and someone that I know really well. Now it’s about improving on the field with him and improving on the field and executing his plans."
WATCH: Fabian Castillo Highlights
Indeed, 2014 is a huge year for Castillo. His fourth at Toyota Stadium, Castillo is going to be relied on for plenty of offense this year. While his tally of six assists in 2013 was respectable, just two goals scored in 33 games is a number he's looking to improve in 2014.
"My goal [in 2014] is to score goals," said Castillo. "In previous years I scored some, but this year I want to score a lot of goals. Personally, I want to get better with each coming game on the field and raise my game to a new level of play. It all comes down to scoring goals and being the guy on the field people can count on to put the ball in the net."
Sporting his trademark cheek-to-cheek smile, Castillo looked solid on the first practice of the season and as someone who raised his game with two goals and three assists in six games playing against Pareja's Rapids over the last two years, there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that 2014 could be a breakout year for the maturing Colombian.
"[Pareja]’s a guy when you don’t have a good day on the field, he’s going to help you out and get you motivated for the next day," said Catillo. "So he’s definitely the right person to be in charge and help us in the good moments, in the bad moments and make us better as individuals on and off the field."