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Torrero: Football gave me my life back

(FIFA.com)
Ryan Torrero of Chile poses for a portrait 
© Getty Images
  • Chilean culture has always been a big part of Ryann Torrero’s life in the USA
  • She combines goalkeeping with modelling
  • Follow the LIVE blog for #USACHI

By Cecilia Lagos with Chile

Ryann Torrero was born and brought up in the USA, the place she still calls home, where she lives with her family and whose culture she identifies with. Yet she also grew up listening to her mother speaking Spanish and cooking Chilean food, and listening and dancing to Chilean music.

“I really feel like I’ve got two identities,” the goalkeeper explained. “I’ve felt that presence all my life. Going on the journey to take out dual nationality has been really crucial in my life and has allowed me to understand that other side of my life.

"When I talk about Chile and say ‘us’ it’s because I’ve really felt part of that culture all my life. The thing is, now I understand it. It’s been fantastic to have the pieces to the puzzle and to be able to put them together, see the complete picture and find that identity inside me.”

The match against USA

  • “USA play at a very fast pace and they really like to attack. That’s how they defend, and it’s going to be a challenge.”
  • “I think if Chile are disciplined, focused and keep their standards up, they can handle it. We welcome the challenge because it’s a yardstick for us. That’s how you grow. That’s how you know if you’re getting it right, what your identity is as a team. We’re ready.”

“When I listen to the anthems, the word that springs to mind is gratitude. I really thought I’d never play again but football gave me my life back. To be able to hear both anthems and have my mum and dad in the stands, who are a mix of that Chilean-American identity, is like closing the circle for me and for my family and football career.”

Football as therapy

Torrero started out as a midfielder before ex-USA keeper Ian Feuer persuaded her to try her hand at goalkeeping. In 2018 she fulfilled her dream of playing in the NWSL, signing for Chicago Red Stars, where she shares keeping duties with Alisa Naeher and Emily Boyd.

Torrero’s journey to the top has not been an easy one, however. In 2016, she was involved in a bad car accident that left her with serious injuries and involved in a traumatic legal case.

“The accident put my career on hold,” she said. “I had injuries to my back and both hips. I thought I’d never play football again. Being able to start over again with Chicago was crucial, and it led to me being called up to the Chilean national team.”

In the two years she spent recovering from her injuries, Torrero found a form of therapy in modelling: “I felt like I’d lost direction after the accident. It deprived me of the job I’d been doing all my life. Modelling was me looking for a second career at the lowest point of my life. It gave me what I needed to stay positive.”

After everything she has been through, just being at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, even as an understudy to the great Christiane Endler, is nothing short of a dream for her: “To be here at the World Cup when I thought that my career was over is wonderful.”

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