The new, and inaugural, coach of the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros was introduced to the public and the media Wednesday in Edinburg. Wilmer Cabrera, formerly the Head Coach of Chivas USA and the USMNT's U-17 club, and an assistant with the Colorado Rapids, will lead the USL side RGVFC, as well as assist with the Houston Dynamo, mainly before and after the Toros season. Also a Colombian national team player in his day, Cabrera assisted the MLS with Hispanic grass roots and youth programs as a community development manager for the league office.
After his introduction today, Cabrera participated in a teleconference with the media, here are some of the highlights:
In regards to being the coach from Day 1 of a new club and some of his duties with Houston and RGVFC:
"For me it's a big challenge, but also a great opportunity. I see a big opportunity first."
"Not only do I work for Houston, but I'm also working to develop the youth and help the first team by giving competition to some [Academy players] that are maybe [having an easy time], need to develop a little more or they need to adapt to the club or the league."
"it is developmental because the young [Dynamo academy] players or college players drafted by the team can be helped if they play, if they work in this environment and prepare themselves to be part of the first team.
On if he'll attend Dynamo Academy matches to scout prospects that he feels should be signed to RGVFC or Dynamo contracts:
" I already did because I went behind the scenes. I was watching the Dynamo's U-18 Development Academy club against Colorado Rapids. I live in Denver and they were there so I went."
" I have some numbers and names and criss crossed information with [Houston General Manager] Matt Jordan and it was good to know and to watch the players. We kinda have an agreement on the possibilities, prospects and projects."
" I think the USL is going to be a very good step and a trampoline to help them be more prepared, more ready and get into a rhythm in a professional enviroment that is going to be more easier to move on to the next step."
Houston will look to have RGVFC run a similar style to the Dynamo, here's how he feels he'll help implement that:
"First, I have to wait and see the first team. I'm going to be joining some practices. I'm going to be close to the first team and I'm going to be communicating with Owen Coyle and his whole staff about how they're going to try and implement the style."
"With the scouting process and the type of style, we need to know how Houston is going to be built for the 2016 season and then we're going to do the scouting for RGV and we're going to do try outs to find the players with the talent and the possibility to continue."
"And when they move from here [RGV] to Houston, they won't see any kinds of changes. It's the same style, the same positions they're going to play, and that's kind of the idea."
As far as my reaction to the hiring, I think it's not only a home run, but a grand slam! When hiring a USL coach, obviously soccer knowledge and experience is vital, but also a willingness and ability to work with the primarily younger players in the league. Wilmer Cabrera has an abundance of both, having served at the MLS level with Colorado and Chivas, but also in that younger age bracket with the US U-18 and U-17 squads. Another great attribute Cabrera has is a pulse of the Hispanic soccer community. In an area such as Rio Grande Valley, there is a plethora of soccer talent, especially of the Hispanic variety. It's a huge plus for a coach to be able to communicate through the potential language barrier and identify with them. To me, Wilmer Cabrera was a perfect candidate and immediately becomes an exciting coach to watch at the USL level.