Anyone who’s ever stressed over a high school exam knows that feeling of the entire world hanging in the balance. What if you fail? Where do you go from there? Thankfully, those overblown fears are just a by-product of stress, and soon fade away. But imagine, for a moment, that your entire future did hang on your ability to perform at your absolute peak day in and day out, while you were still just getting used to being a teenager? For the kids in Chivas’ Mexican soccer academies, this is a very real scenario: less than five percent of the students will go on to play in the Chivas youth system. Without making the cut, one’s career in soccer is all but done, and, very often, the prospects otherwise are limited.

Erick Torres, just a kid from Guadalajara, Mexico, found himself nearly succumbing to this pressure at the age of 14. He felt like he was in real danger of being cut from the Chivas academy where he was enrolled, and he couldn’t make sense of it. He rode a bus two hours each way to school, and came from a poor family, but he was talented and dedicated to the sport. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards.

And then, a minor miracle occurred. While riding the bench for the fourth division team, a desperate need arose for a forward in the third division—an entire year up from Erick’s league. He made the roster but wasn’t expected to play, scored in his first appearance, and the rest was history. Just a few years later, he was playing for Chivas in the Mexican Primera Division.

Since then, Torres has gone on to sign with the Houston Dynamo of the MLS (although he is currently on loan back in Guadalajara). At present, he is the MLS all-time scoring leader among Mexican-born players. Click play above to hear the moving story of how this one kid from Guadalajara refused to give in to what might have been soul-crushing odds, kept fighting, and finally broke through.

"Breaking Through" is a new series from Complex, presented by POWERADE. For more visit Just A Kid From.