It was a busy offseason for San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo, who put his “time off” to good use.
Castillo took advantage of his break from his hectic regular-season schedule to educate himself and others with his involvement in youth football camps in his hometown and the Dominican Republic, and enrollment in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at North-western’s Kellogg School of Management.
During his trip to the Dominican Republic with his mother Maria Nieves Cas-tillo, Luis gave advice and playing tips at a youth football clinic to young players with professional football career aspirations.
One of the important lessons Castillo emphasized to the youngsters was how much determination is needed to achieve a career in the NFL.
“I would like the Dominican youth to realize that they can reach any goal, as long as they fight for it,” says Castillo.
“I invited the children to learn a little about American football and spend some time with me so that they could see that I am just like them, and if I could make it, they can too”.
Castillo spent time on the field with the young players, as well as with the country’s pioneer American football team, the Dominican Raiders, coaching football fundamentals.
“He’s a great person,” Raiders head coach Ross Levy-Tovar said. “We expect that with Castillo in the NFL, more youngsters will attend football camps here.”
After coming back to the states, Castillo returned to his alma mater, Garfield High School in New Jersey, to lead a youth football camp for 65 boys between the ages of 8 and 14.
The youngsters beamed when their NFL hero com-plimented their playing skills and listened attentively to his advice that was not solely focused on football, but also on life.
Castillo also took some time to further his own education this offseason as one of more than 100 NFL players to enroll in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program that assists players in preparing for their post-playing careers.
He took courses at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University that focused on developing and selling a brand and evaluating franchise opportunities.
Castillo is a shining example of what he told Garfield High School children is possible with perseverance.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what you are,” he advised the young NFL hopefuls. “It’s all about how much work you put in”.