Juan Pablo Torres is settling in well to life as an NYCFC player.
The American youth international is a few weeks into life back in his home country, following a spell abroad in Europe with Lokeren.
Now in Orlando with City on the second leg of preseason, the 19-year old midfielder is looking forward to his first Major League Soccer campaign with the Boys in Blue.
Torres has 90 minutes in his legs through two preseason games, featuring in the first half vs. Copenhagen and the second half vs. AIK in Abu Dhabi.
Torres told NYCFC.com: “Abu Dhabi was a good experience. It’s always great to see foreign countries and to see the culture, but to also be focused and to train.
“We worked on a lot of tactics there, on our movements offensively and defensively. It was a good training camp and now we’re transitioning here in Orlando to get ready for the first game.”
It’s a big 2019 for Torres, who is likely to be a part of Tab Ramos’s U.S. U-20 squad at the U-20 World Cup in Poland in May.
Juan Pablo was an integral part of the squad which qualified for the tournament as a result of winning the CONCACAF Championships, scoring four goals along the way.
This experience in the U.S. youth setup has also made it easier to settle into life at NYCFC, with several familiar faces to help him find his way, as he explains: “I’ve known a lot of the guys from the youth national team so that helped to know some familiar faces coming into it.
“I’ve known Jonathan Lewis for a long time, he played in the last U-20 cycle and I’ve been to a couple of camps with James Sands – with all the youth international guys we’re all in the mix together and everyone knows everyone.
“All the new guys that I’ve met have all been very friendly and welcoming me to the team to help me settle in.
“Everyone’s been getting along and the chemistry has been looking good, so I’m happy to be here continuing to build on that for the season.”
Torres will compete for minutes in a strong NYCFC midfield in 2019, joining Justin Haak, Keaton Parks and Tony Rocha as one of three new options for Domènec Torrent across the middle third.
Upon signing, Torres described it as an “easy decision”.
He said: “The Club has been able to establish itself as one of the leading teams in the country. When NYCFC offered me a deal—it was an easy decision. I’m looking forward to learning from Coach Torrent and his technical team. I will always give my all for the Club and I am ready to help the team as much as I can.”
Juan Pablo and his teammates return to the field on Saturday evening at the Orlando City Invitational vs. the hosts in Florida.
We’ll have a match recap and highlights here on NYCFC.com after the game.