2012 coaching staff (L-R) Dave Dir, Wilmer Cabrera, Oscar Pareja, Paul Caffrey
Garrett Ellwood / Colorado Rapids

Staff to attend five NCAA Conference Tournaments over the weekend

Above (L-R): Dave Dir, Wilmer Cabrera, Oscar Pareja, and Paul Caffrey

Commerce City, Colo. - The Rapids coaching staff will be casting a wide net this weekend as they watch some of the best college soccer players in the country in preparation for January's annual MLS drafts.

Head coach Oscar Pareja and assistants Dave Dir, Wilmer Cabrera, and Paul Caffrey, as well as Technical Director Paul Bravo, will attend five NCAA Division I soccer conference tournaments over the next few days.

"The college game is important to us," Bravo said earlier this week. "That's one of the pieces to building a solid foundation and building a core as we move forward."

The Rapids enter the offseason with three selections in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, including the 6th and 25th overall. Colorado also owns Chicago's 2nd round pick, 30th overall, acquired as part of the trade that sent Wells Thompson to the Fire. The club also has five selection in the Supplemental Draft.

  • Pareja will be at the Maryland Sport Complex in Germantown, Maryland on Friday for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament semifinals and stay for the championship game on Sunday. The first round matches and quarterfinals are being held at individual campuses.
  • Dir will head to Northwestern University on Evanston, Ill. on Wednesday to watch the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State and Northwestern enter the tournament as the top two seeds.
  • Cabrera will observe the Big East Conference Tournament final four over the weekend, which today was switched from Red Bull Arena in New Jersey to PPL Park in Pennsylvania as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Friday's semifinals will pit top-seeded Connecticut against #3 seed Notre Dame and #2 seed Georgetown versus #4 Marquette.
  • Caffrey will attend the Conference USA Tournament, which feature top-ranked Southern Methodist University and #2 Tulsa, at Regents Park in Birmingham, Ala., also from November 7-11.
  • Bravo will attend the Mountain Pacific (MPSF) Tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which features the country's #9-ranked Lobos. CSU Bakersfield is the #2 seed.

With their only pick in the 2012 draft, Colorado selected Tony Cascio 14th overall out of the University of Connecticut. Cascio appeared in 29 of 34 regular season matches, tallying three goals and adding three assist. His 1692 minutes in his rookie year were 733 more than the combined minutes of the 16 draft picks that made the team in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 during their first year. The minutes were also the most by a Rapids rookie since Nat Borchers in 2003.