Fabian Castillo’s $3 million 6-month loan to Turkish club Trabzonspor is a step forward for a player who was always destined for Europe but a half step back for MLS (full step back if you’re an FC Dallas Fan because you lost your best player in the middle of the season).
— Trabzonspor Kulübü (@Trabzonspor) August 4, 2016
He was one of the league’s few players who rose to stardom after arriving in MLS.
FC Dallas paid $800,000 to get him as an 18-year-old prospect from Deportivo Cali in 2011.
Since then, he’s developed into one of the league’s most dangerous strikers and been capped by Colombia three times (although Colombia’s coach has hinted that he doesn’t want his players playing in MLS).
Castillo was an MLS star and a young player on an upward trajectory.
Most of the big names in MLS are veterans of European leagues in the twilight of their careers, people whose names are worth the price of admission not because of what they can do, but because of what they have done in the past.
The recent signings of quality players under the age of 30 – Nicolas Lodeiro (27) by the Seattle Sounders and Alejandro Bedoya (29) by the Philadelphia Union – is crucial for the MLS if it ever wants to be a league people outside the United States watch.
But the league’s inability to retain its brightest young stars, Fabian Castillo and DeAndre Yedlin before him, is a reminder that Europe remains the only legitimate destination for the game’s best young players.