No regrets at opting to play for U.S.: Torres

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By Rex Gowar

IRENE, South Africa (Reuters) - Texas-born U.S. midfielder Jose Torres, set to enjoy his first World Cup, has no regrets about his decision to play for the United States rather than Mexico, the land of his father.

With eight caps, seven in the qualifiers, the 22-year-old is one of the up-and-coming youngsters in Bob Bradley's squad at the South Africa finals where the U.S. face England, Slovenia and Algeria in Group C.

"I have the two (nationalities) and at that moment I had to take the decision... who I wanted to play for and now it's taken I'm happy and playing a World Cup," Torres told Reuters in an interview.

"It was a very tough decision," said Torres, who has played his professional club football entirely with Pachuca in the Mexican first division since 2006.

"When Mexico heard the United States wanted me, I had to take a very complicated decision very quickly," he said in the beautiful surroundings of the U.S. team's country farm retreat in Irene, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"It was stressful, I had to talk it over with my family and in the end I took the decision to come here and I think it was the best decision of my life.

"I think you take such a decision for yourself and your future," said Torres, who was in the U.S. squad that reached last year's Confederations Cup final.

"Playing a World Cup can help you a lot with your future, a big European club can go for you, but first you have to enjoy the World Cup.

Torres said the decision did not involve putting the two national teams in the balance to see which he had the greater chance of playing for.

"That's not important...if I'd opted to play for Mexico I'd have had to work hard in any case," he said.

"I was helped by my parents and a coach, Enrique Meza, and several players like Gabriel Caballero, experienced players in my (Pachuca) team," Torres said.

Caballero, now Pachuca's assistant coach, took out Mexican nationality and played for Mexico at the 2002 World Cup.

"They told me the United States was a great national team and that I should make the right decision, they would always support me and, in truth, I don't regret it."

(Editing by Justin Palme)