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CONCACAF Conversation with Jose Francisco Torres

Jose Torres

  • DOB October 29, 1987
  • Age 26
  • Place of birth Longview, Texas
  • POSITION Midfielder
  • HEIGHT 5'7"
  • WEIGHT 135
  • U.S. CAPS 27
  • CLUB UANL Tigres
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 42
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 38

Jose Torres is a key part of the current Latino influence on the United States national team. The left-sided midfielder is one of the squad's best passers, displaying the type of vision and touch that is essential to the improvement of the American unit. Despite his diminutive stature, he has shown he's not afraid to throw his body into a tackle or two, although he sometimes struggles when the U.S. doesn't dominate the ball.

Torres, however, almost didn't make it to the U.S. team. His father's roots in Mexico and his allegiance to club side Pachuca led him to turn down a call to join the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. But El Tri's lack of interest forced Torres's hand, and the Texas-born talent appeared for Bob Bradley during a World Cup qualifier against Cuba in October 2008. "It was a hard decision," Torres told SI.com at the time. "I made my career in Mexico. I had been there for six years."

Torres has played inconsistently since joining the Stars and Stripes. His struggle to break into the starting lineup is a combination of the talent ahead of him in central and left midfield and the type of game he plays. He's at his best when there are more creative players around him, something the U.S. formation frequently lacks.

But Torres looks to have a bigger role going forward. Jurgen Klinsmann prizes his attacking prowess and his versatility—Torres played left back in a World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda—and continues to try to find space for his young charge, who turns 25 in October. Torres understands as much. "First thing is that [Klinsmann] wants me to go out there and play my game," the midfielder told Goal.com in June 2012. "He wants me to be one of the leaders on the team, wants me to be more aggressive. He wants me to do what I know how to do, which is be good on the ball, look for through balls, and look to connect with the forwards a lot and help put them in on goal."

Torres played one half during the 2010 World Cup, a disastrous showing against Slovenia. Four years later, he could try to rectify that outing in Brazil, but he'll have to prove to Klinsmann that he can be an asset in tough, defensive games. That could be troublesome.—NOAH DAVIS

Klinsmann on Torres:
"He has a very, very good vision, he sees the spaces, he can pass those balls, he can switch quick to the other side. We told him, 'Take those risks and don’t worry if a pass or two is not ending the right way.' He is definitely a player who we will build over the next months and years to go." (September 2011)

Noteworthy Reads

Torres Is Ahead of His Time on U.S. National Team (SI.com)
Jose Francisco Torres Happy About Choosing the U.S. (NYTimes.com)
Jose Torres Making His Mark on Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. Side (Sporting News)
USA midfielder Jose Torres: Klinsmann Wants Us All to Shoot More (Goal.com)
AmericanSoccerNow.