[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN] Somebody has been hired for the job nobody would seem to want.
That somebody is Wilmer Cabrera, and the job is head coach of Chivas USA, which employed two head coaches in 2013 while winning just six of 34 matches and has gone through nearly a dozen, counting interim appointees, heading into its 10th MLS season.
“I’m really excited and motivated to be joining Chivas USA, as well as very grateful to the organization for the support they have given me,” he said in a statement released by the club on Wednesday. “It’s a big opportunity join an MLS professional club and an institution that wants to be one of the top teams in the League; a team that is not only eager to participate but that also wants to be competitive in MLS. I’m proud to be part of Chivas USA and MLS and I hope that this year the team can show that mindset and motivation in each and every of the 34 games we are going to play during the regular season.”
Cabrera is a former U.S. U-17 head coach who worked last season with Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. They were teammates on the Colombian national team, for which Cabrera played 48 times, including three appearances at the 1998 World Cup.
A five-year stint coaching the U-17s produced appearances in the round of 16 at the 2009 and 2011 competitions. Cabrera is the fifth head coach to be appointed since the end of the 2013 regular season, with FC Dallas -- supposedly in the final stages of luring Pareja away from Colorado -- the only remaining vacancy currently unfilled.
Cabrera was traveling along with staff members to Florida for the MLS Player Combine on Wednesday and wasn’t available for comment. A team spokesperson said he has set a date of Jan. 27 for the start of preseason training.
An 18-year pro playing career as a defender started at age 17 with Santa Fe in 1985 and included stops in Colombia, Argentina and Costa Rica. He finished his playing career in the United States with the USL Long Island Rough Riders after arriving in 2003 and upon retirement worked for the MLS league office on grassroots development programs MLS Futbolito and Verano MLS.
-- The Rapids have brought in former Dutch international (Real Madrid, Tottenham and Nottingham Forest) and longtime coach (most recently Derby County development director) John Metgodas a consultant. He'll join the Rapids staff for the adidas MLS Combine and SuperDraft.
adidas MLS Player Combine Schedule:
Friday, Jan. 10 in Lauderhill, Fla.
Nitro Charge vs. Predator, 2 pm ET
adiZero vs. Brazuca, 3:45 pm ET
(Click here for Combine attendees.)
SHIPP DOCKS IN CHICAGO.Notre Dame star Harrison Shipp is among the four homegrown signings announced on Thursday.
Shipp, who finished his senior season with 12 goals and 10 assists to lead the Fighting Irish to their first national championship, signed with the Chicago Fire.
“Harry’s a local guy, one of the best college players in the country and we are extremely excited to have him join the Fire,” said Chicago coach and director of soccer Frank Yallopin a statement. “It speaks very highly of our player development system where a player of Harry’s caliber can thrive and have a direct route to the first team. He’s trained with the first team over the summer and we expect a smooth transition for him from the college game to the professional ranks.”
The Seattle Sounders signed Stanford midfielder Aaron Kovar and Wake Forest forward Sean Okoli, both underclassmen, while Toronto FC inked 17-year-old forward Jordan Hamilton from its academy program. Hamilton had played for Canada at the 2013 U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
2014 Homegrown Class:
TEAM: PLAYER (TEAM, YEAR)
Chicago:M Harrison Shipp (Notre Dame, sr.)
Columbus:D Ross Friedman (Harvard, sr.)
Columbus: M Matt Walker (Xavier, sr.)
D.C. United:D Jalen Robinson (Wake Forest, soph.)
Real Salt Lake:M Jordan Allen (Virginia, fr.)
Seattle:M Aaron Kovar (Stanford, soph.)
Seattle:F Sean Okoli (Wake Forest, jr.)
Toronto FC: F Jordan Hamilton (KIA Toronto FC Senior Acad., h.s.)
REPORT:Jack Bell of the New York Times tweeted on Thursday morning that Nelson Rodriguez has resigned from his position as executive vice president of competition, technical and game operations at MLS. Jonathan Tannenwald at Philly.com has an update on how Rodriguez's responsibilities might be handled.
MLS Preseason: Updated Schedule
DAVIES RETURNS.The New England Revolution has signed forward Charlie Davies on a free transfer from Denmark’s Randers FC. Davies spent the second half of the 2013 season on loan from Randers. Davies' contract with Randers was dissolved by mutual consent. The former Boston College All-American played just four games with the Revs.
SPAN LOTTERY.Former Virginia midfielder Brian Span went to FC Dallas in a weighted lottery. He played two seasons at UVa and two with Djurgarden in Sweden. FC Dallas had the highest odds of the five teams that entered the lottery.