Soccer wasn’t always the dream for Javier Torres, as he didn’t even play the sport until he was in his mid-teens.
But once the ball hit his foot, it was love at first touch.
After putting in copious hours to the sport day in and day out, Torres grew the skills to compete at the Division I and semi-professional levels. He suffered a career ending knee injury, though, that would change the path of his soccer career forever.
With playing out of the question, Torres looked to stay involved in the sport that he loved. He found it — behind the scenes as a coach.
Initially thinking of doing private lessons out of his own backyard, Torres grew his idea into what is now Growth Soccer Training, which recently moved into a 12,000 square-foot facility, allowing him to continue doing what he loves the most in a new state-of-the-art facility.
“I always had a vision, I always wanted to (be where I am today), I just didn’t know what’s going to happen this fast,” Torres said. “Based on the stuff that I was learning as an entrepreneur how things take time, I just didn’t know I was going to make this big of a jump.”
Moving from a 2,000 square-foot facility in Peoria to his new spot in Glendale, Torres is upgrading his facility six fold, and has all the bells and whistles that his players could possibly need. His two indoor fields and separate training area are top of the line and perfect for his small group style of coaching.
Offensively based, Torres’ players must be selected into his training, as he believes in “quality over quantity.” He offers a unique style of coaching that is always on the ball from the second the kids get into the facility to the second they leave.
Torres also doesn’t believe in warming up at the facility, as “every minute counts,” so by having his students warm up beforehand, they can maximize their efficiency in the session.
“It’s more rewarding for me to see these things; see them learn the things that I didn’t get taught as a player now that I know the game a little better,” Torres said. “No one told me this, no one told me that, and I can be the person that tells these kids this and teach them how to be more creative and have more fun, and teach them how to be technical.”
The attention to detail through his coaching has netted him a solid base of players and families that trust him and his mission. When he was moving facilities to his new Glendale location, his families stepped up and pooled their efforts to get the facility up and running faster.
But his best period of growth, surprisingly, happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Torres’ indoor facilities offered something very few competitors had — a space where, if everyone was safe, could practice with confidence. Torres would work 13 to 15 hours each day to keep his dream alive, and it was well received.
People liked the idea, which inspired huge growth of his classes, to the point where students would be waiting 40 minutes in the lobby to get their class in. With only 2,000 square feet to work with, Torres’ upgrade allowed for the boom in clients to keep coming in.
“I felt like all the hard work that I put in to gather a really strong community and kind of family of several families,” Torres said. “And they just come out here and help and put in their time so that they can see me and their children grow and be in a different place.”
Torres teaches classes for students ranging five-year-olds to 15- and 16-year-olds. The classes are quaint, with a one to 12 coach-to-student ratio, which allows for the team aspect to shine through, while having a tight-knit relationship from coach to player.
All in all, Torres’ ability to switch focus from playing the game he loves to teaching it to others is a full circle, as he gets to see kids like him become the player he wanted to be, all while being there every step of the way.
“As a coach, to see a kid grow, it just puts more gasoline in me to keep going every day,” Torres said. “Even when I don’t feel my best, I get to come in here and train for the kids, because there’s times where they come in here feeling sick or feeling tired, and they still come in here and do work. So, I feel a strong obligation to show for the kids that are coming here and help them grow.”
For information on Growth Soccer Training, visit GrowthSoccerTraining.com or check out Growth Soccer Training on Facebook.