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By Francis Kennedy and Noah Geiss

Dedicated hard-working supervisor at night, college athlete by day, All-American every day. 

Luis Castillo Guzman, a sophomore center back for the Hawks men’s soccer team, was named second team All-American in the Junior College Division III by United Soccer Coaches. 

Guzman started 20 games for the Hawks and was a key piece to the Hawks’ defense that forced seven shutouts and allowed on average 1.43 goals per game. He was one of the leaders of a Hawks team that finished 13-8-2 overall. He was also named as a member of the First-Team Coast- South Conference for his standout season. 

“It was really amazing,” Guzman said. “Guiding some young guys with some of my experience. It was a wonderful experience because I got to share my knowledge and what I know about the game with them and a little bit about my story and what I went through to make it to that point.

“I just want to say thank you to Coach Andy Cumbo and my other two assistant coaches,” Guzman added. “Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.” 

Guzman’s national recognition is the product of working through adversity. His success on the field and in the classroom comes while he works two jobs. But grinding has always been in his DNA. 

Guzman was born in Peru to his father, Luis Castillo and mother, Aydee Guzman, who immigrated here to the United States with their three boys, the youngest being six-year-old Guzman. The couple added a fourth son, Joao, a younger brother who sees Guzman as a role model. 

Being a role model is something Guzman takes seriously. 

“My parents helped me out, too, especially with me not being born here,” Guzman said. “The stuff they had to go through has always been in the back of my head and I want to be a role model to my younger brother and hopefully he gets motivated to do good in school.”

Their dad worked tirelessly at a warehouse to provide for their family. Inspired by his father’s work ethic, Guzman is motivated to become the first of his brothers to finish college. His sights are set on the University of California, Santa Barbara as one of his transfer options. Others are Sonoma State and California State University, East Bay if he’s able to play soccer. 

Luis Castillo Guzman, in black uniform, pushes the ball up the field during sophomore night at Las Positas College on Nov. 10, 2023.

Guzman is currently working two jobs with one of those jobs being a supervisor at UPS, where he is working on the overnight shifts. After his shift at night, he would still manage to show up for practice and college classes. It being the off-season allows him to be able to manage a second job at Walmart which he recently started three weeks ago. 

Guzman said it was difficult, but his love of the game kept him going. He did not start playing soccer until he joined a soccer club at the age of 13 but was familiar with the sport as a kid. He couldn’t come across a soccer ball without kicking it. 

In the 2019-20 season during his game at Copa Alianza, which was held in Los Angeles, Guzman suffered a near career-ending foot injury. He had to have surgery, and the doctors told him that he was never going to be able to play again.

After the surgery, he was never put on the proper rehab program he needed to recover correctly. He gained weight from the loss of activity resulting from the surgery.

Guzman refused to let the injury end his dream, taking matters into his own hands by getting back in shape, showing the resilience he learned from his upbringing. 

“Out of the many years of not playing,” Guzman said. “I still performed well.”

An inspiration that Guzman looks up to is Thiago Silva, a Brazilian professional soccer player, who plays center-back – the same as Guzman — for Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. Both Guzman and Silva know what it means to take the leadership role on the pitch. He also mimics Silvas’ strategic approach to defense, as he positions himself in the perfect areas to intercept the ball.

Guzman described his love for the sport of soccer in one word “passion.” His teammates and faculty members feel that as long as that passion continues to fuel him his future will only be limited in his own self belief.

Francis Kennedy is a staff writer for The Express. Follow him on X, formally Twitter  @FRANCISK16571. Follow Noah Geiss @NOAH_G__ 

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