Wilmer Cabrera returns from 'fantastic experience' on FIFA Technical Study Group at U-20 World Cup

Rapids top assistant coach observed and analyzed 14 World Cup matches in Turkey for FIFA

Wilmer Cabrera at the Ghana vs Iraq Third Place match in Galatasaray in the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup (via @wclsoccer13)

Not only did the Colorado Rapids have nearly every player available for Monday's training session, but they also had their full coaching staff available as well.

Oscar Pareja's top assistant, Wilmer Cabrera, was back on the sidelines for the morning practice less than a day after returning from the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey where he was a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG).

France won the U-20 World Cup by defeating Uruguay on penalty kicks on Saturday afternoon. After 26 days away, Cabrera arrived back in Colorado on Sunday afternoon.

"It was a fantastic experience, obviously, for me personally and as a coach," Cabrera told ColoradoRapids.com after training. "When you have to watch the complete World Cup, and all the players and the games, the tactics, the trends, and how everything is working, you learn a lot. And now I hope I can put that learning experience to use for the Colorado Rapids."

FIFA: Trends and tactics of 2013 U-20 World Cup

Cabrera was assigned to 14 matches at the U-20 World Cup, having to input details for the teams he was assigned to observe into a computer system that tracked everything from formations, to playing styles, to individual tendancies.

It was a unique soccer learning experience for a coach who had played in two U-20 and two senior World Cups for his native, Colombia, as well as coached the U.S. U-17 teams in two U-17 World Cups.

"If you have the mentality that you cannot learn something everyday, you have to retire from soccer," Cabrera said. "Because no one can say they have learned everything. You learn everyday and that's our mentality as coaches. As coaches you have to refresh your memory, you have to be thinking 'how can I improve,' or 'how can we improve the things that we do here.'

Cabrera said he and the TSG were also responsible for selecting the FIFA Award winners, where he also voted for France's Paul Pogba as winner of the adidas Golden Ball award as best player of the tournament. The other awards the TSG decided were: Silver and Bronze Ball, Golden Glove (best goalkeeper), and Silver and Bronze Boot (second and third leading goal-scorer, decided by assists as determined by the TSG).

Besides the soccer games, Cabrera also found pockets of time to experience the country. He tweeted some photos, including this: