By CALEB FOSTER
The Carrillo name is well recognized when it comes to Aztec soccer.
With two older brothers who have already gone though the program, freshman Santiago Carrillo, 19, has also joined the team as a defender.
Born and raised in Tucson, Carrillo has been playing soccer since he was 8.
That isn’t a surprise, considering his family’s history with the game. What is surprising, though, is that Carrillo never played for a high school team. He played instead with Tucson Soccer Academy.
Carrillo is an important member of the Pima Community College team, and is well liked by teammates and coaches alike.
“Santi is the backbone,” head coach David Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove has known Carrillo since he was 9, and attributed his long relationship to the Carrillo family for being able to get him to play for the team.
“Santi’s a class player, he was being recruited to major colleges across the country,” Cosgrove said. “The thing I like about him is he’s very composed, very confident.
Cosgrove is very thankful to have Carrillo on the team and believes that he can make it to the next level.
His teammates offer compliments as well.
“He’s very reliable,” freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas said.
“His personality, it’s kind of out there, it’s real calm,” Kavathas added. “When he’s on the field is when you see his personality the most.”
Carrillo has had to overcome multiple injuries during his soccer career, including a broken jaw.
Three years ago, he underwent knee surgery and had his meniscus removed.
He’s recently faced other major life changes. His son was born three months ago.
“Soccer has really gotten my head out of a hole I got myself in and has helped me get through it,” he said.
Carrillo hopes to move on with his soccer career and play in the Seattle area. He has already had opportunities to play across the country but is waiting for the one that fits him the best.
Carrillo is majoring in criminal justice at Pima but his main focus is the game of soccer.
He believes soccer has been a learning experience. “It has taught me how to count on other people, how to communicate and how to work hard in a group,” he said.