Max Torres immediately knew something wasn’t right when his right knee buckled during an indoor league match with the Rockford Raptors FC this past January.
Torres was only days away from beginning his second junior semester. During the Saturday match, Torres was working against an opposing defender when he was shoved from behind. When he planted his foot, his body continued forward and his knee ultimately gave way.
“I felt my knee go inward and there was a loud pop,” Torres said. “I couldn’t really feel the pain because of the rush, but my foot went numb and I couldn’t move my toes or my foot. I knew something wasn’t right from the beginning.”
The damage Torres suffered included a torn right ACL, a partially torn MCL and a bruised bone. When he underwent surgery, doctors discovered he had also turn his right meniscus. The injuries set Torres up for several months of rehabilitation, which led to his eventual clearance to play soccer only days before the beginning of his senior season.
“The rehab was a struggle sometimes,” Torres said. “I was scared to walk sometimes because I didn’t want to tweak anything. I felt fine otherwise, and I’m glad I took the rehab seriously. I was pretty confident in my recovery because my therapists were telling me that I was doing things during the rehab that others couldn’t do or were scared to do… I was really happy to be cleared, and the only thing I was nervous about was my conditioning.”
Torres played an integral role on the Rochelle varsity boys soccer team this past season, scoring 13 goals and adding nine assists at the right forward position. He recorded five goals and six assists his sophomore season, and as he works through his senior season, he’s looking to continue getting in shape and refining his ball control.
“We’ve set our goals for this season pretty high,” Torres said. “We want to win the conference and I want to make it back to the sectional finals… It’s taking some time for me to adjust since I was out for so long, but I feel I’ve been adjusting to my position and playing better soccer as more games have gone by.”
Torres started playing soccer when he was 3 years old, following in the footsteps of his two uncles who he watched play high school soccer and league soccer on weekends. Torres grew up in Mendota before moving to Rochelle, where he’s spent nearly all four years of his high school career with the varsity team. The Hubs are 6-2 over their first eight games this season, with Torres totaling five goals during that span.
While Torres has changed positions, moving from right forward to center forward, he’s also changed uniforms in honor of his former teammate Jessee Infante, who set the Rochelle Township High School single-season scoring record in 2018. Infante wore No. 10 for the Hubs this past season, and that number has been passed down to Torres this fall.
“He told me not to give up and to keep working hard,” Torres said. “He told me that it’s all about team and not just myself. That helped us a lot last season.”