Two-time National Player of the Year and Creighton Athletics Hall of Famer Johnny Torres is back for his ninth season on the Bluejay bench, following a decade-long professional soccer career. Arguably the greatest soccer player in Creighton and Missouri Valley Conference history, Torres played for the Bluejays from 1994-97.
Torres claimed the National Assistant Coach of the Year honor from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in January 2012. He was also named the NSCAA Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the second straight year following recognition after the 2011 season. He played an integral role in Creighton’s run to back-to-back College Cups as a member of head coach Elmar Bolowich’s staff.
A member of the 2014 BIG EAST Co-Coaching Staff of the Year, Torres helped lead the Bluejays to the nation’s best winning percentage at 16-3-3 (.795). Creighton won its first BIG EAST regular season title with a 7-1-1 mark in just the second year in the conference. The Bluejays advanced to their third NCAA quarterfinal appearance in the last four seasons. Three CU players earned spots on NSCAA All-America squads and four earned unanimous All-BIG EAST selections and two major awards.
In 2013, he aided the Jays through their inaugural season in the BIG EAST Conference and a tough non-conference slate. Creighton finished the season with a 9-9-2 overall record and a 4-4-1 mark in league play. Seven Bluejays claimed spots on 2013 All-BIG EAST Teams. Eric Miller and Zach Barnes claimed NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region honors and later were drafted in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
He helped direct the Bluejays to a 17-4-3 record and their second consecutive appearance in a College Cup In 2012. Creighton won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles for a second straight season. Along the way, the Bluejays tied the MVC record for the fewest goals allowed (one) in a Valley season set by CU in 2011. CU entered the 2012 College Cup on a 14-match unbeaten streak before falling 1-0 to national champion Indiana in a semifinal.
Three times in Torres’ first five seasons on the Bluejay bench, the Creighton men’s soccer staff was honored as the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year, earning the nod in 2008, 2010 and 2011. His roles on the coaching staff include scouting, recruiting and training. He also plays a major role in working with student-athletes on service projects in the Omaha area.
Torres himself has always been active in service throughout his collegiate and professional playing days. He visited thousands of youth in the Omaha community in the 1990s. Torres was tabbed the Children’s Miracle Network National “Hometown Hero” in 1996. A native of Medellin, Colombia, he was honored by the Omaha City Council with “Johnny Torres Day” on Oct. 27, 1996, in recognition of earning U.S. Citizenship just days before, his community service and his soccer skills.
Torres was named to the MVC All-Centennial Team in 2006 and in 2011 he became the first men’s soccer player inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame. In 1997 he won both the Hermann Trophy and the Missouri Athletic Club Award (prior to the combination of the awards), recognizing him as the National Player of the Year. In 1996, he earned National Player of the Year honors from Soccer America after leading the Bluejays to their first College Cup appearance. When his career ended, he was the Valley’s all-time scoring (128 points) and assists (36) leader.
He was the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1998 MLS Draft by the New England Revolution. He played for the Revolution for four seasons and also played for the Miami Fusion and Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, before continuing his career in the USL for the Minnesota Thunder and the Milwaukee Wave United, before moving to indoor soccer with the Milwaukee Wave. In 2010, he returned to the professional ranks as a player, leading the Omaha Vipers of the Major Indoor Soccer League in goals scored. In 2009, he played on the United States Adult Soccer Association Over 30 championship team – Nebraska 402 – which qualified and participated in the U.S. Open Cup in 2009.
Torres returned to the Creighton campus in the fall of 2007 to complete his undergraduate degree while serving as the Bluejays’ undergraduate manager. After receiving the NCAA Degree Completion Award, he earned his degree in social work from Creighton in the spring of 2008.
The 2004 Creighton Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, two-time First Team All-American and three-time First Team All-Region selection has a son, Dominic (9), and a daughter, Perla (9 months). Torres married Sara Heck in 2013.