Torres: We're all getting adjusted
For nearly two weeks, right winger Arturo Torres has been in Guadalajara with his new teammates from Club Deportivo Chivas USA, where Saturday the squad will wrap up its two-week pre-preseason trip with an exhibition game against Mexican First Division side Tigres. Earlier this week, the 23-year-old Torres - a native of Wilmington, California and Chivas USA's first pick in the MLS Expansion Draft - sat down with CDCHIVASUSA.com and shared his thoughts on his first trip to the capital of Jalisco state.
[Interview translated from the Spanish.]
How has your experience in Guadalajara been?
Great. As a soccer placer, I've always intended to come and play in Mexico. It's a goal I never pursued; I went to college, and from college, to the Galaxy. But now I'm here, playing alongside such greats as Ramón Ramírez and Martín "el Pulpo" Zúñiga, players that I grew up watching. It's a very special opportunity.
How is it to be training in a totally Mexican environment?
With the Galaxy and with my university teams, we always had to speak in English. As a kid, I grew up playing with all Mexicans. When we played, we communicated among ourselves in Spanish. Then when I got to the college, I had to learn all the soccer terms in English - same with the Galaxy. And now I'm here, I'm speaking Spanish on the field once again, and you feel like you're in a Mexican environment. The soccer is Mexican; the style of play is Mexican. Totally different than in the U.S.
How would you describe the Mexican style of soccer?
It's more technical. It's all about knowing how to move off the ball, playing with your head, knowing when to run. In the U.S., in my position as a right midfielder, I ran all game long. Players like Ramón, on the other hand, know how to move, know how to put themselves in positions to pass and receive the ball. In the U.S., soccer is rougher, more difficult. You have to be much more athletic, because you're going to get pulled and banged around. And you have to run a lot.
What advice would you give to your Mexican teammates so that they will be ready for soccer in the U.S.?
That they don't come in thinking that it will be easy, because we have a big task ahead of us. That they don't come with the attitude, "We're going to the U.S., where all the old retired players play." That they don't think that soccer is not at the same level in the U.S. as in Mexico. Because if they come with that attitude, they're in for a big surprise.
How do you think your non-Mexican teammates are fitting in?
Jamil [Walker] and Matt [Taylor] are adjusting bit by bit. The same goes for all of us. I've never been to Guadalajara, and in particular I've never played in a professional football environment in Mexico. So, bit by bit we're all getting adjusted - to the style of play, to the food, to the whole atmosphere here.
Have you been warmly received by Chivas fans since arriving here?
We're representing Chivas, and here in Guadalajara that is really respected. People respect us and treat us really well. People who see us wearing Chivas shirts know who we are, they say they they're going to be rooting for us and encourage us to give it our all. And to win - because they say they'll be watching us on television.
Any final comments?
I want to say hello to my family, to my parents, to my girlfriend - I love you a lot, everybody I love you all. Also to my family in the state of Michoacán who also are giving me lots of support, all the folks in Wilmington, California, who have been supporting me during my whole career. And above all to God, to him I say thanks because without him, none of this would be possible.