Soccer Player To Watch: Luca de la Torre is a San Diego Youth Soccer Super Star
GoalNation Player To Watch Series highlights youth soccer players making an impact on the soccer fields across America.
Luca de la Torre is an American homegrown soccer player making his impact on the fields of England and the USA. Few US Youth International players sign professional contracts with prestigious English soccer clubs and Luca de la Torre is a great example of an export growing the interest in American players.
San Diego born Luca de la Torre represented the United States at the U17 FIFA World Cup in Chile last summer making three appearances throughout the tournament. An American youth soccer player who makes an impact on the field, de la Torre joined England’s Fulham FC from USSF Development Academy at San Diego Surf SC. “As a player who traded the Surf Jersey for Fulham’s, it is with great pride that we watch Luca follow his dreams of becoming a pro player,” said Cody Worden, Surf SC USSF Academy Director. The American born Fulham FC youth player also trained at Nomads and currently travels across the Atlantic to play on the U.S. Soccer’s U20 squad.
Here is the exclusive interview on GoalNation:
“Luca de la Torre is a game changer and those talents do not always come along.,” said Gavin Taylor, who worked as the Academy U18 Assistant Coach as well as the Performance Coordinator and Skills Coach at the Fulham Football Club Training Ground at Motspur Park in Surrey, England. “Luca de la Torre was selected first and foremost for his technical talent and ability with the ball. He demonstrated the all important ability of being able to go past players with the ball and make a strong impact on the field. There are plenty of youth soccer players who have good skills, but they do not always show the understanding of committing a defender and getting past that man to create or score for the team.”
“Luca de la Torre has a very natural ability to travel with the ball at his feet,” said Taylor who now resides in California and is dedicating his talents at developing American youth soccer players. “In many ways, de la Torre is faster when carrying the ball than when running without it which makes him a tough opponent to stop.
GoalNation’s Diane Scavuzzo caught up with Luca de la Torre while he was training in San Diego.
Here is our exclusive interview with this rising soccer star – an American abroad making a difference on two continents.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why did you pick Fulham FC as a English pro soccer club to play for?
Luca de la Torre: I was scouted by Fulham FC when I was 14 years old and playing youth soccer in Southern California.
I moved over to England when I was 16. Fulham FC just felt like the right pick. I was very proud to be asked to play for them.
I could have gone to a few other soccer clubs, but I felt like a smaller club was the right choice for me and would offer me more opportunities.
Diane Scavuzzo: You are living in London, England now – what is it like? Do you prefer living in London than San Diego?
Luca de la Torre: Yes. It depends — living in a big city it’s a lot different than Southern California and obviously, I’m over there training and working hard. I don’t have a lot of time off the field regardless of where I live.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the training like at Fulham FC?
Luca de la Torre: It’s very intense. The youth player development and training setup is a bit better than what we have in the US. This is the main reason behind my moving abroad, because I want to be a professional player and the training at Fulham is great.
We’re catching up in California, but if you want to become a professional soccer player, it is important to take advantage of your opportunities.
Diane Scavuzzo: What position do you play?
Luca de la Torre: I’m an attacking midfielder. See Fulham FC bio for more information
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could play soccer for any team, who would it be?
Luca de la Torre: I think a team like Arsenal FC fits my style the most.
Diane Scavuzzo: You were born in 1998, what tips would you share to someone who is younger who has dreams of training abroad?
Luca de la Torre: Work hard. You’re young now but you have to realize you are not always going to be young — it’s not always going to stay this way.
The best advice I can share is to really work hard and make the most of your opportunities.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you feel like you have had to give up a normal life of a teenager?
Luca de la Torre: Yea, of course, but I think in the end I won’t be missing out too much because I’ll be catching up. I can have my fun later, once I become a professional soccer player.
Diane Scavuzzo: You have trained with Paul Wright – he is very proud of your accomplishments.
Luca de la Torre: I’ve known Paul Wright for a long time. He was my first personal trainer, after my dad of course. I first started training with Paul when I was just 6 or 7 years old.
Paul has helped a me lot — to get me to where I am today.
Diane Scavuzzo: Specifically what did you work on with Paul Wright?
Luca de la Torre: I trained on improving my speed when I was with Paul. I actually ran on his track team Speed to Burn for a year.
“One of the hardest working kids I’ve ever had, continually working on his game, he has a ton of natural ability but still works on his weaknesses turning them into strengths,” says Paul Wright.
What made Luca de la Torre a standout youth soccer player? According to his coaches at Fulham FC, it became very clear that he possessed a driven personality that is important for the elite sport. Fulham FC’s Academy Coaches Mark Pembridge and Colin Omogbehin trained de la Torre in the U16 program and then the talented youth was promoted to the U18 program.
“Luca de la Torre was completely at ease with the older U18 group,” said Taylor who worked with de la Torre for nearly 3 years. “The more physically advanced players definitely made him play quicker and improved his decision-making on the ball. de la Torre became an important member of a very successful U18 program throughout this period.”
I can’t stress enough the mind set of Luca and his inner drive which he showed from the very first day,” said Taylor. “There are some individuals that just belong on the practice field and Luca de la Torre is certainly one of those — he doesn’t waste time off the field. As soon as the times comes to practice and he crosses that white line, he is switched on and ready to go.”