WOODY BAUM - Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It has been a grueling past couple months for Jose Francisco Torres leading his club team of Pachuca to a CONCACAF Champions League title as well as a stunning run to the semifinals of the Mexican league's playoffs.
However, for the midfielder from Longview, TX, it has been a relief to be in camp with his American teammates with whom he has been playing and training since he was first called to the national team.
"We haven't seen each other in a long time," Torres told YA about joining the camp. "It's always good to get back together and see how everybody is and see how everything is going on with their teams. And I think it's good to be back in camp, playing, and training with everybody so I think it's a good experience."
It has been long road for Torres to make the U.S. National team.
He originally turned down an offer to play for the U.S. Olympic Team in order to gain a starting spot for Pachuca, one of the most storied and successful clubs in Mexican history.
His role with Pachuca eventually led to Bob Bradley calling Torres in for the World Cup qualifiers in late 2008. Since then he has been a mainstay with the national team, traveling to South Africa for the Confederations Cup and earning a start in March against the Netherlands in a friendly.
"It was my first experience playing in an international game," Torres said of the match versus the Dutch. "I think it was a good experience. The rhythm was fast and the pace was excellent. I think it was a good game. We did a good job. We didn't come out with the win but we had opportunities to tie. I think it was a great game and we did good things."
While the core of the team has long been established and seems to be a close knit group, this camp has been marked by the inclusion of several newcomers such as Edson Buddle and fellow Mexican league player Herculez Gomez.
However, Torres made it known that the new additions are welcomed by the national team stalwarts.
"It's always good for somebody else to come [to camp]," he explained. "They're very welcome on this team. Everybody who comes in is always welcome and I think we have a great team. Now we have to do a great job so we can be ready for the World Cup."
Despite his excitement to be back with the team, Torres understands the camp is business and that he will face stiff competition as the central midfielder position is one of the deepest positions on the team.
"It's going to be tough," Torres said of the deep midfielding talent pool. "There's Michael [Bradley], there's Benny [Feilhaber], there's Ricardo Clark and me. If you want to fight for a spot, we have to do a good job. We have to hustle.
"We have to give it our all because it's just 23 players that are going to the World Cup, so we have to demonstrate that we want to be one of the 23 men on the list and we just have do a good job and we have to demonstrate to Bob that we want to be on the list," he concluded.