A stroke of great luck happened earlier this week as Steven Torres who has already penned a piece here, put us in touch with the former national team coach. Javier has headed teams at the top of Colombian soccer, Deportivo Independiente Medellin, Club Atletico Huila, Millonarios Futbol Club, Once Caldas, Deportivo Cali, Club Atletico Nacional, the full Men's Colombian national team, their U-23's, U-20's, U-18 & in Ecuador, Sociedad Deportiva AUCAS. It was a far ranging talk over a few hours touching on oh so many topics, foreign coaches here in MLS/USL etc., young players & a bombing, yes he has seen it all the good bad and the horribly ugly. Though I could have thoroughly butchered the discussion in my horrific Spanish his English was excellent making it far easier for me as mine is passable.
Wilmer Caberra, current coach of the Houston Dynamo, former coach at Suffolk Commuinty College and teammate of Javier.
We started off with the topic of the foreign coaches in MLS and how they fare. Direct references to Tata Martino at Atlanta United and a former teammate of Javier, out of Suffolk Community College, Oscar Pareja with Dallas FC came up. He explained that the US has quite the history of being the land of opportunity and for coaches with knowledge & experience even more so now with the US not making the World Cup. This may have caused even more to open their minds to other methodologies and thoughts. Those from other lands bringing different training ways and help the US with said methods and players improving and gaining knowledge. This recent influx he hopes will really get this project going, to make the US into a great soccer nation, a soccer power. He cited the recent successes of MLS teams in the CCL, beating high level Mexican teams, even home and away as is the case with the NY Red Bulls. With Tata coming to Atl Utd and the bigger money being invested in players after just 20 yearsof MLS, there has been real progress and more chances for foreign coaches.
To the point of younger players who are starting to turn the trend of MLS being a "Retirement League", he informed that there has been a change of view new from the past with the big name players due to as they age it is not as easy to stay fit. Now the change is to get a young player give him the spotlight then sell him off. This sort of thing hes says will help in making the teams sustainable and these younger players now will learn from the more experienced ones what it takes to succeed. Noted are the numerous under 25 years of age players at Atl. Utd. with no less than 6 and FC Dallas with a well established academy system and 14 in the same age range including no less than 6 from Texas alone.
Please see the Facebook page of Soccer Long Island Magazine for video of Javier.