HOUSTON -- Over the last four years, José Francisco Torres has slowly grown from part-time player to starter at Pachuca and now to a member of the 2010 US World Cup squad all in the blink of an eye. And the creative midfielder has thoroughly enjoyed the ride though and the experience each step has provided along the way.
“It was my first World Cup and it was a great experience playing against great teams,” said Torres. “It’s a different rhythm and it’s faster, and whatever I learned there I tried to bring here.”
Houston fans have been witness to the development of "El Gringo." International competitions like SuperLiga and the CONCACAF Champions League have given them the opportunity to see Torres grow and develop into one of the country’s rising stars. After playing Pachuca for four consecutive years, the Dynamo are impressed by the strides being made south of the border by Torres and his new teammate Hérculez Gómez.
“Pachuca’s been a powerhouse for this region for some time now,” said Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell. “To see some guys getting their name called and getting to play with those guys is good for soccer in general and this country.”
For Torres, the move south of the border wasn’t always as easy as he is making it look now. The talented lefty, though, is happy with the role he has carved out with the Tuzos and how his career has developed.
“It’s tough working from the bottom and working your way up to the top,” noted the US midfielder. “There were experienced players [here early in my career] and you have to respect them, so every time I came down for SuperLiga, I would go in [as a sub] and try to do something. I tried to do my best, but now that I am starter, I have to try to do my best and keep my spot.”
Previously the lone American Tuzo, Torres now has two new countrymen as teammates. US international striker Gómez joins Pachuca after a successful stint with Puebla earlier in the year. The team also acquired defender Marco Vidal on loan to round out the trio.
“It feels good,” said Torres about having his new teammates on board. “[Gómez and I] know each other well and he moves well. Now that he’s on my team, I know how he wants the ball and, when he’s on the run, I have to give it to him. He’s a great goal scorer and a great teammate.”
While Torres and Gómez were unable to unlock World Cup defenses this summer, it seems likely both are tabbed for success in Mexico this fall.
For the US National Team, having a player like Torres develop outside the country and with a skill set that differs from his national team counterparts can only help make the collective team that much stronger.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to email@example.com.