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 Monday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2014. There are 107 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: The Rock River Illinois conference of the Methodist Church will hold its annual sessions this week in this city. About 200 ministers are expected to attend. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Brush electric company had prepared a new schedule of rates to become effective Oct. 1, with slightly increased rates to consumers. 1914 — 100 years ago: The Rock Island Aerie of Eagles made plans for the laying of the cornerstone of a new $50,000 Eagles Home. W.C. Maucker is to be master of ceremonies. 1939 — 75 years ago: Col. Charles A. Lindbergh spoke on "America and Foreign War" in a neutrality debate over nation wide radio hook-up. 1964 — 50 years ago: Two awards of the National Safety council were presented to the city of Rock Island today at noon at a meeting held in the YWCA. 1989 — 25 years ago: The final tallies are not yet in for the summer 1989 Quad-Cities tourism season, but officials are expecting the number of visitors to the area to be at least as good as, if not better than, 1988.