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El Paso Locomotive FC appoints Wilmer Cabrera as new Head Coach

By Staff, 05/20/24, 12:00PM EDT


Experienced Head Coach has led sides to victory in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Canadian Championship during career

El Paso Locomotive FC has appointed Wilmer Cabrera as its new Head Coach, with the former Colombian international bringing extensive experience to his new position. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC announced on Monday it had appointed Wilmer Cabrera as the club’s new Head Coach effective immediately. With the appointment, Cabrera becomes the fourth Head Coach in Locomotive history.

“On behalf of our ownership, all our Locomotive fans and supporters, and our entire organization I’d like to welcome Wilmer to El Paso,” said MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford. “We’re proud to have someone with Wilmer’s extensive playing and coaching background and a proven record of success everywhere he has been as our Locomotive Head Coach, and we look forward to working closely with Wilmer on all aspects of MountainStar’s soccer ecosystem.”

Bilingual in both English and Spanish, Cabrera arrives in El Paso with an impressive 19-year coaching career across North America that includes stints in Major League Soccer, the USL Championship and with the United States Youth National Team. Cabrera also played professionally for 20 years, representing the Colombian Men’s National Team at two FIFA World Cups and four CONMEBOL Copa America’s between 1989-1998. He debuted professionally at 17 in 1985, primarily playing in Colombia before going on to make stops in Argentina, Costa Rica and the United States.

“I am excited to join the community of El Paso as the new Head Coach of El Paso Locomotive FC,” Cabrera said. “I want to thank the club’s leadership for entrusting me with this opportunity and I look forward to leading the team in this new chapter of Locomotive history. Together, I believe we can strive towards success, and I am committed to providing our passionate fans a team to be proud of. I can’t wait to see you all at Southwest University Park!”

The Cartagena, Colombia native most recently led Locomotive’s former in-state rivals Rio Grande Valley FC as Head Coach and Sporting Director. Cabrera left RGV as the longest tenured coach in the club’s history, overseeing the Toros for the inaugural 2016 campaign and 2021-2023 seasons. His time in South Texas was highlighted by three postseason appearances in 2016, 2021 and 2022 as the side reached the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2022 campaign. In the club’s inaugural season under Cabrera, the Toros posted their highest ever league finish, ending the year second in the Western Conference to clinch a 2016 playoff berth. In 137 matches across all competitions, Cabrera led RGV to a 53-47-37 record.

Cabrera brings four seasons of MLS head coaching experience to Locomotive, having previously led CF Montréal 2019, Houston Dynamo FC (2017-2019) and Chivas USA (2014). Cabrera also spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Colorado Rapids between 2012 and 2014.

His most successful stint in MLS was with Houston, where he helped the Dynamo reach the 2017 MLS Western Conference Final and win its first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2018. He also led Dynamo to their quarterfinal finishes at the 2019 Concacaf Champions League and the inaugural 2019 Leagues Cup. During his stints elsewhere in MLS, Cabrera lifted the 2019 Canadian Championship with Montreal and led Chivas USA during its final season of operation, posting the team’s best league finish across its final five seasons.

Before MLS, Cabrera blazed a trail for future coaches in America when he became the first Latin American head coach in the U.S. national team system, leading the Men’s U-17 side for six years between 2007 and 2012. Under his leadership, Cabrera led the U.S. U17s to the Round of 16 at the 2009 and 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, as well as a first-place finish at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. He left the U.S. U17s with a 36-29-15 record.

Cabrera joined the MLS front office as a community development manager at the end of his playing career, simultaneously working towards his A Coaching License from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) in 2005. That would pave his path to becoming an assistant at Suffolk County Community College (2005-2006), which was followed by a stint with Blau Weiss Gottschee Academy in New York City (2006-2007). He would then secure his first job within the U.S. national team system in 2007, serving as an assistant coach to the Men’s U-18 squad. Cabrera received his PRO License from the USSF in 2019. 

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