Austin Gilgronis signed Angel Torres for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 21-year-old tighthead prop/hooker is 5’10” and 260lbs.
Angel was born in Escondido, California where his mother was from by way of Nayarit, Mexico. He lived in Mexico until he was six years old before returning to the U.S. where he grew up in Valley Center, California. He attended Valley Center High School and was a multi-sport athlete, playing basketball as a power forward, a pitcher in baseball, and a heavyweight wrestler.
Angel began playing rugby when he was 10 and his senior year of high school gave up other sports to concentrate on rugby. Since the school did not have a team, he and a few others, played on other SoCal Conference teams.
According to Dustin Zerrer, who hosts an Austin Rugby Supporters Facebook page (and Podcast), Angel credits Chris Turori and his father George, who were trainers at the school for fostering his interest that he can be successful in the sport. Angel said that “Chris, who played professionally for the San Diego Breakers and San Diego Legion, was a role model growing up. He made me believe any kid can make it, even though we came from little Valley Center, a small country town in San Diego, California.”
Angel also played for the Rhinos Rugby Academy from 2015-2018. Mentor there included former San Diego Breakers back, Charlie Purdon, who is from South Africa, and Tai Tuisamoa, an Eagle, who also played for San Diego Legion.
Following his graduation in 2018, he attended New England College for the 2018-19 season on a Division 1 rugby scholarship. He transferred to Trinity Western in Langley, British Columbia in 2019. In 2020 he attended Mira Costa College in Oceanside, California playing NSCRO Rugby in the Gold Coast Conference.
In 2020 he joined 404 Pathway of Rugby ATL, playing all three front row positions. While there, he played against NOLA Gold Academy at hooker.
Angel is looking forward to continuing his rugby development with Austin Gilgronis in 2021.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
AG Rugby is thrilled to announce the signing of hooker, Angel Torres. The 21-year-old Mexican-American hooker enters his first year in Major League Rugby after eight months with Rugby ATL’s 404 Academy.
At only 21 years-old Angel Torres will be one of the youngest players in the AGs squad but realizes the opportunity he has at his feet. “Coach Sam [Harris] really gave me a chance to live out a dream here in Austin and I’m working now to prove he made the right decision,” says Torres.
AGs Head Coach Sam Harris was familiar with Torres’ youth and versatility in the front row from his scouting efforts. “I knew Angel from scouting the 276 players in the collegiate draft, so I had seen his tape and then he’s obviously been with RugbyATL so he had some solid running under his legs and good coaching in the last six months,” says Harris. “What I really like most about Angel is that he’s hungry, hungry to improve, and hungry to invest in himself.”
Angel Torres is one of only a handful of Hispanic players in Major League Rugby and wears that fact as a badge of honor. “I’m one only a few Mexican-American or Latino players in the league, so I have to be a good example, carry myself professionally and set a high standard,” says Torres. “I also want to grow the sport in the Hispanic community in Texas, that’s a big part of the responsibility I have to my community whether I’m here in Texas or back home.”
“Growing up in a Mexican household it’s all about working for your family and working for your culture, so I wake up with that every day; I do it for all my people that never got a chance.”
Angel Torres’s mother is from Nayarit and his father is from Sinaloa, Mexico. Torres moved to the United States at six years old; almost ten years later he was introduced to rugby in his hometown of San Diego, California. “I went to the mailbox for my Mom one morning and found a poster with an egg-shaped ball I’d never seen before and the kid on the poster carrying the ball was chunky like I was,” says Angel Torres. “And when I played football they always put me on defense and I always wanted to carry the ball, so rugby was just an immediate match for me.”
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Torres left Canada and headed South for Atlanta to take an opportunity with RugbyATL and the 404 Academy. Torres certainly has his work cut out for him competing in the hooker position unit this pre-season alongside: Hugh Roach, Robbie Coetzee, and Mason Koch. Torres is a motivated young player with dreams of representing the United States National Team in the Rugby World Cup.
“I want to be an inspiration to people to chase their dreams, especially those that don’t get an easy ride,” says Angel Torres. “Getting a chance to play professional rugby at this age is really motivating me because I know I’ve got an opportunity to be a student of the game and soak in all the knowledge.”
Welcome to the AGs, Angel Torres!