Wilmer Cabrera was named head coach of the Houston Dynamo on October 28, 2016. Cabrera was previously the first head coach the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, the Dynamo's hybrid USL affiliate. He also served time as a head coach and assistant coach in Major League Soccer and head coach of the United States Under-17 Boys National Team.
A native of Colombia, Cabrera is bilingual in English and Spanish and was the first Latin American head coach at the helm of a U.S. national team. He served as head coach of the United States Under-17 Boys National Team from October 2007 to January 2012 and compiled a 36-29-15 record, guiding the U.S. U-17s through two U-17 World Cup qualifying cycles ahead of the 2009 and 2011 FIFA U-17 FIFA World Cups, including progression to the Round of 16 at both tournaments. Cabrera also led his squad to a first-place finish at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
Cabrera began his MLS coaching career as assistant under current FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja for two seasons with the Colorado Rapids (2012-13) before he was head coach of Chivas USA in 2014, the club’s final season in MLS.
As the first head coach of Rio Grande Valley FC, Cabrera guided the expansion club to a record of 14-7-9 and second-place finish in the USL’s Western Conference. RGV FC had the best goal difference – plus 23 – in the Western Conference, and allowed just 24 goals, second-fewest in the 29-team USL, and fewest in the West. The Toros also led the conference with 16 shutouts and set a USL-record with a streak of 760 minutes without conceding a goal in July and August.
As a player, the former defender made 48 appearances for the Colombia National Team, including three starts at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, inclusion on the roster at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and a role at four Copa America tournaments (1989, ’91, ’95 and ’97). His 20-year professional playing career began at age 17 with Independiente Sante Fe in Colombia and included spells in Argentina and Costa Rica before a final stop in the United States with the Long Island Rough Riders.
Cabrera’s career in youth development began as an assistant coach with Suffolk (New York) Community College followed by a stint as coach with the BW Gottschee Academy in New York City.
Before his appointment as the first head coach at Rio Grande Valley FC, Cabrera spent 2015 working for Major League Soccer in various capacities, including scouting and technical study. He was part of the CONCACAF Technical Study Group that analyzed the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras. Next, he was a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. He joined the CONCACAF Technical Study Group at the 2015 Gold Cup in the United States as well the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship. Cabrera also observed the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica (World Cup qualifying tournament) as well as the 2015 South American Youth Football Championship in Uruguay (U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament).