RICHMOND, Va. – Rising junior midfielder Jose Carlos Castillo has signed a professional contract with Mexican club Jaguares de Chiapas, a member of Mexico's Primera Division, which is the top-level pro league in the country and arguably the top league in North and Central America.

Castillo is the third VCU player from Head Coach Dave Giffard's initial recruiting class in 2010 to ink a pro contract, joining Lucas Paulini  and Josh Pantazelos.

"We are all very excited for and proud of Jose for accomplishing his goal of becoming a professional soccer player," said Giffard. "Although leaving at this time of year is not ideal for our team, the offer was in my opinion, way too good to pass up.  

"When we recruit players to come to VCU, one of the biggest things that we offer is our commitment to helping each individual reach their potential and accomplish their goals, both individually and as a team. Even though Jose missed a lot of school on national team duty, he still maintained an "A" average, was a great teammate and made significant gains in his play. So much so, that he now has the opportunity to join a team in the top league of Mexico and begin what I hope will be a long and very successful pro career.  

"Jose won't be the last player in this group that we lose early to the pros, but if you recruit talented players and put them in an environment to help them grow and develop, that is going to continue to happen. At the end of the day, that is what we are doing here, helping individuals reach their potential in all areas of their lives, and subsequently, their goals."

Castillo has been a part of the Guatemalan National pool since his youth days when he played for the U-17, U-20 and U-21 teams for a total of more than 65 caps in youth national competition.

In 2011, the Guatemala City native made history for his host country when he assisted on the game-winning goal that led the U-20 Guatemalan squad to an improbable 2-1 victory against the United States in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF championship. The victory secured the country's first-ever appearance in the World Cup in any age group. His strong play at the World Cup in Columbia helped his country advance out of group play and into the knockout stage where they lost 1-0 to Portugal, the eventual runner-up.  

Last November, Castillo garnered his first-ever senior cap as he started in a World Cup qualifier versus Grenada. His latest cap came in late April, when he appeared in an international friendly against Paraguay in Guatemala City.

During his two seasons at VCU, Castillo played in 28 matches, scoring one goal and dishing out seven assists from his midfield spot.