Despite loss, New Brunswick's immigrant community story reflects N.J. soccer evolution

The New Brunswick boys soccer program’s storybook season concluded in excruciating fashion Tuesday, losing 3-2 to Monroe in the Central Jersey Group IV sectional semifinal round.

New Brunswick head coach Rafael Castillo’s 2015 varsity team (20-2), led by New Jersey golden boot leader Kevin Sanchez (54 goals, 20 assists) took the state by storm. Castillo’s freshman, junior varsity and varsity programs combined to go 51-3-1 this autumn.

The program's metamorphosis happened as a result of the bilingual Castillo, once a Panamanian immigrant himself, earning the trust of New Brunswick’s hispanic immigrant communities. The East New York-native's relatable personality and experience as an Academic Coach with "Play It Smart" (the New Brunswick school district's academic support program for athletes) helped Castillo to channel the community’s once disconnected sandlot soccer talent.


Continue reading article here