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(Portland Timber/Twitter)

Julio Cascante

Jersey number: No. 18

Hometown: Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Position: Central defender

Age: 27

Former Club: Portland Timbers


Background

(Julio Cascante S./Twitter)

From Costa Rica to Portland, Oregon, defender Julio Cascante has played in rain, sleet and snow throughout his decade-long career.

After playing with the Portland Timbers, Cascante went Verde with a $250,000 deal on Dec. 13, 2020, the same day that the club finalized five other signees.

Packing on more experience than his age reveals, Cascante began his professional career in 2011 with Costa Rican first division (Primera Division) side Orion FC in 2011. Since then, he's spent time around the Primera Division, playing for the Costa Rican National Team and traveling north to the MLS.

Cascante transferred to Austin FC after a three-year stint with the Portland Timbers, where he made 48 total appearances, scored two goals and contributed to five shutouts. The central defender was also given the Champion of the MLS is Back Tournament title in 2020.

Before the Timbers, Cascante played for Costa Rican team Deportivo Saprissa and helped the team to its 31st Primera Division title in 2017 alongside fellow Austin FC teammate Ulises Segura. Cascante made 59 appearances with Saprissa in 2017-18, including five starts in the Concacaf Champions League. Before Saprissa, Cascant spent time with Primera Division team Club CF Universidad de Costa Rica from 2013-16 after his three-season debut with Orion FC.

On the international stage, Cascante has made one appearance on the Costa Rican National team against Nicaragua in 2015. Cascante first played alongside Segura in the Costa Rica U-22 team in the 2015 World Youth Festival, and he made three more national team appearances on the U-23 Costa Rica team for the 2015 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

With Austin FC

An experienced center back, Cascante is looking to be a contender for the other central defender position alongside likely starter Matt Besler, although young Colombian Jhohan Romana could also be in the mix.

Cascante said that Head Coach Josh Wolff believes in the technical ability of center backs, a tactic that sets him apart from other coaches and makes the team a more cohesive unit.

"A lot of coaches want to not play with the center backs, but he had a really good idea to start from the back, things that make you believe in his idea, your team, and in yourself," Cascante said. "You don't face that many coaches that want to play like him."

Cascante said that the team's first season is going to be tough because everyone brings intensity and perfectionism onto the field.

"It's going to be tough because everyone gets frustrated sometimes, but it's because everyone wants to be perfect," Cascante said. "It's kind of hard because everyone comes from a different team with different ideas, but we're getting there."

At 6'1, Cascante is one of the taller players on the team, and the 27-year old is the eighth oldest Austin FC member.

Off the pitch

Cascante and his wife, Jessica, have underwent more changes than packing up and moving to Austin: the Cascantes have a four-month old son as well. Just a few months before his baby was due, the defender celebrated his first-ever goal with a special victory celebration.

In a press conference, Cascante said that the move is tougher with a newborn but ultimately worth it.

The move to Austin has been a little bit rough with a new newborn baby," Cascante said. "But me and my wife, we're really, really happy to be here. The city, the supporters, have been really, really good to us."

A native of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica's seventh-largest city, Cascante said he values the intensity at Austin FC.

"As a Hispanic coming from Costa Rica, I think the intensity is always high level here," Cascante said. "I can get used to that."

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