BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, August 10, 2011
When US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his first roster, one of the more intriguing selections was Pachuca's Jose Torres.
Torres, 23, madeheadlines in 2008 when he formally announced his intention to play for the United States over Mexico with whom he has dual citizenship.
Despite the high level of publicity, Torres has only 11 caps and has not played since being subbed out at halftime of the US-Slovenia game during the second group stage game at the 2010 World Cup. Torres is now happy to be back in the fold once again.
"It's great," Torres told YA in Philadelphia. "It's been awhile since the World Cup. I haven't been called back in and having another opportunity. I'm happy to be here and see the guys again."
Torres received a call from Klinsmann last week to inform him that he would be part of the team against Mexico. Now through the first few days of camp, Torres is excited by what the German-born coach has to offer.
"Jurgen a great coach with a lot of experience," Torres enthusiastically stated. "He's coached one of the great national teams. He's coming to the United States to show a lot of that experience. These first few days have been great. I'm looking forward to working with him."
Even though national team program under the German is in its infancy, Torres notices that that the feel among the players is different than it has been in the past.
During his press conference last week, Klinsmann emphasized that he wanted to the style of play for the US national team to reflect the growing Latino populations within the country. For a Mexican-American currently playing in the Mexican Primera Division, that is something that Torres warmly embraces.
"That's always great to hear from a coach like Jurgen," Torres said with a smile. "He wants to have possession and a lot of movement. These first few days we've been trying to work on that."
"We're looking forward to playing like that. Every coach is always different and there is always a different atmosphere. Now we have Jurgen and he's a good coach. We have to adapt."
Looking back on the Bradley-era, Torres does remains positive despite the year-long absence from the team. Under Bradley, Torres received his first international cap and was included on the World Cup where he started a game.
"There are always good memories," Torres recalled. "I worked a lot with him and he's a great coach also with a lot of experiences. It's always tough having a great coach leave. Now you have to adapt to a new coach and work hard."
The next step for Torres should be a memorable one. He will now have the chance to play under Klinsmann against a powerful Mexican team and a team Torres declined to play for three years ago. The rivalry with Mexico is a passionate one for the US team and Torres is looking forward to his first showdown with El Tri.
"It's always great," Torres concluded. "I've never played against them. I've been on the bench twice and now I'm looking forward to playing. It's always a great game against a rival. We're going to have a great game and really try to win."