MOLINE -- What happens when the boys' soccer season ends for Moline senior forward Jose Castillo is unknown. The thoughts about college soccer creep through his head, but not enough to deter Castillo from his focus.
The present is all that matters in his mind.
A leader on a veteran team with state tournament aspirations, Castillo wants to take Moline to heights not reached in more than a decade. Winning titles this season is the focal point, not what happens after it.
All the college talk can happen as soon as his senior season ends.
"Every season has been important," said Castillo, this week's Metro Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. "But this year, we have great experience. We could go far this season. We have a team that can go to state."
Through seven matches, the undefeated Maroons have shown their potential and experience.
Castillo, a four-year starter who has helped Moline go 57-16-4 during his career, has ignited that fast start. Castillo has 12 goals and five assists, meaning more than half of the Maroons' scores have been set up or finished by him. The highlight was a hat trick on Monday against Kenosha (Wis.) Indian Trail at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire.
"You can't teach a player to be a finisher," Moline coach Rick Sanchez said. "That's one of his strengths -- he's a pure finisher. We're fortunate to have him on our squad."
The value is more than his ability to produce goals. Sanchez notices his distribution has improved, something that helps the Maroons average more than four goals per match.
Castillo's five assists lead the team. They also are two away from his career high despite Moline still having more than two thirds of its regular season remaining. He has recorded a goal or an assist in every match this season.
"It's not all about me," Castillo said. "I want my team to go far."
Moline is strengthened by a veteran lineup. Castillo is a key part in that.
"The sky is the limit for him," Sanchez said. "He's been consistent for us for three years. We expect him to continue doing what he's doing. One of the things I've noticed is he's having more confidence in the players around him. He's quicker and faster. He's seeing the field better."
The ability, skill and winning background could make him into a sought-after college prospect. The future, though, can wait.
"I haven't thought about it," Castillo said. "I just don't know yet. I would love to play soccer. It's my life."
College is the desired destination, with Castillo hoping to become the first member of his family to earn a degree. Soccer, as of now, is part of the plan. The only missing piece is the right fit.
The pressure of finding one can wait. Castillo is looking to end his Moline career as a winner.
"I love the way I'm playing right now," Castillo said. "Hopefully, college is an opportunity for me. Hopefully, my dreams will come true."
Metro Pacesetter -- Moline's Jose Castillo
Favorite food: Pasta Favorite movie: 'The Hangover Part III' Favorite class: Pottery with Mr. Zain Favorite athlete: Cristiano Ronaldo Favorite soccer pitch: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Parents: Norma Castillo and Alfredo Morales, Moline In the running Drew Himmelman, Geneseo: Had three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in the Maple Leafs' 42-14 season-opening win over Dunlap. Lucky Boy Wu-Lu, Rock Island: Scored six goals in the Rocks' run to the Oregon Invitational title. Dylan Cardenas, United Township: Tallied two assists and a goal, helping the Panthers to a 4-0 win at Rockton Hononegah.
Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.