[USA SPOTLIGHT] At age 22, Jose Torres played 45 minutes for the USA at the 2010 World Cup, then never heard from Coach Bob Bradley again. Jurgen Klinsmann’s arrival has given the Texan who’s played in Mexico for seven years another chance.
A brilliant performance in the penultimate World Cup warm-up against Turkey raised expectations that Torres could play a key role for the USA in South Africa. But once there, he stayed on the bench for the final warm-up game against Australia and the 1-1 opener against England. Bradley started Torres in the USA’s second game, but yanked him after 45 minutes with Slovenia ahead, 2-0. The USA came back to tie, 2-2.
“It was a great experience playing for Bob,” said Torres, who left his Longview, Texas, home at age 16 for Pachuca. “He gave me an opportunity to get a World Cup in. But I played just 45 minutes and I never heard from him again. I decided to keep working hard and hoping I’d get called back.
“I was feeling better with Pachuca, and when I heard that Klinsmann was hired, I thought I had a good shot at getting called back.”
In Klinsmann’s debut as U.S. coach, he started Torres in the 1-1 tie against Mexico last month.
“Technically, he’s a very gifted player,” Klinsmann said. “He can keep the ball. You can pass him the ball under pressure. And he knows how to handle situations where the space is really tight. It’s important that you can pass to a midfielder who knows what he’s doing with the ball.
“Jose is stepping it up more and more. He’s feeling more comfortable, more part of the group. I think it’s just a growing process for him. The more he’s here, the more he understands his role, and the more comfortable he gets.”
Torres plays in the central midfield for Pachuca, but Klinsmann used him wide in the first half against Mexico before moving him centrally in the second half, when Torres and his teammates played much better and came back for a 1-1 tie.
“We didn’t know how to pressure Mexico in the first 45 minutes,” Torres said. “When we tried to pressure Mexico, they’d move the ball very well and open the field. In the first half, I don’t think any of us did very well. The second half was different. The subs came on and they responded. And I moved in the middle, getting more on the ball.”
Torres made his first-team debut for Pachuca one month before his 19th birthday in 2006 and broke into the starting lineup in 2008, a year in which he played all three games at the FIFA Club World Cup. He’s played more than 100 league games and is, at 23, one of the veterans on a team that had a major overhaul last season.
“Pachuca is very small but a nice place to live and am very grateful,” says Torres, who is married to Alexia, a Pachuca local. Their 9-month-old is named Mia.
“I wanted Sofia and Alexia wanted Mia,” said Torres. "The woman gets her way … She’s not named after Mia Hamm, but I hopefully she’ll play. She’ll decide what to do, but I’ll always be there to support her and help her out.”