Photo courtesy Nashville SC
Nashville SC’s march toward the 2021 season continues. Today, the club announced the signing of 22-year old defender Robert Castellanos. From Club release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 17, 2020) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today the signing of 22-year-old defender Robert Castellanos via free agency. The center back joins a historic Nashville SC defense that posted a goals against average of 0.956 goals per game in 2020, the best of any expansion club in league history.
“Robert has the tools to be a contributor at this level and has gained some valuable experiences already at a very early stage of his playing career. He will be able to add to the depth of our back line,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs.
Castellanos has made 53 USL Championship appearances since his professional debut with LA Galaxy II in 2017, when he led the team to a second-place group finish and a playoff appearance. Most recently, the defender spent the last three seasons with Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, the Dynamo’s USL Championship affiliate, where he earned 37 appearances.
A Palmdale, California native, Castellanos spent time in the U.S. Youth National Team system, where he made two appearances in 2016. Also, at the youth level, he was a member of the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy side Nomads SC and then Liga MX side Atlas FC, where he signed in August 2016.Nashville SC release
Castellanos played in 12 of RGV’s 14 games last season, playing the third-most minutes (1,080) for a squad that finished 2-9-3 and missed the USL Championship playoffs.
Standing 6-2, he led his team in aerial duels won with 32, and his 57 attempts were also by far the most on the squad (56.1%). He completed 82.5% of his passes, even though a large proportion of them (19.9%) were long balls, typical of a central defenders. He scored twice (one headed, one left-footed) on four shots on-target among his 11 total attempts. He picked up only one yellow card all season, as well.
At just 22, he’s eligible to join the supplemental roster in spots 25-28, meaning the monetary (and roster-slot-scarcity) investment doesn’t have to be particularly high for him. He played 117 minutes across two games for the United States U-20 team in 2016, his on-field action for his country.
As centerback depth – joining Jalil Anibaba (who can also back up other positions) and Jack Maher, along with potentially Eric Miller – he’s a nice developmental piece who can be a real breakout player as he develops.