Akron coach Caleb Porter to head men's Olympic quest

[U.S. SOCCER] Caleb Porter, coach of defending NCAA Division I champion Akron, has been named head coach of the U.S. men’s U-23 national team, which aims to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in Concacaf qualifying next March.

Porter, 36, will continue in his role as the head coach at Akron, where he has coached since 2006.

“We are excited to have Caleb join our national team program,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “Still early in his career, Caleb has been extremely successful and has demonstrated the ability to mentor and develop young players. A proven winner, we believe he will do a great job of leading our under-23 men’s national team as they look to qualify for the Olympic Games next summer.”

Porter entered the 2011 season at Akron with a 90-13-10 record spanning five seasons, giving him the highest winning percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches.

After the Zips went undefeated in the regular season in 2009 and finished runner-up to Virginia at the Men's College Cup, where they lost in the final on penalty kicks, Porter was courted by D.C. United but chose to remain at Akron. In 2010, the Zips won the national title with a 1-0 win over Louisville.

Akron finished in the top 5 for goals scored and goals-against-average in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the only program in the nation to do so.

During his tenure at Akron, 12 Zips players have been drafted into MLS, including the 2009 No. 1 overall pick Steve Zakuani, No. 4 pick Teal Bunbury in 2010 and No. 2 pick Darlington Nagbe in 2011. Akron set an MLS record with five of the first eight selections in the 2011 SuperDraft and seven draftees overall.

Porter has served U.S. Soccer as a U-18 assistant coach and U.S. Soccer Development Academy scout.

Before taking the Akron helm, Porter served as assistant coach at his alma mater, Indiana University, where he played in 1994-97. Indiana won two national championship (2003-04) while Porter was assistant coach.

After finishing as the runner-up for the Hermann Trophy in his senior year at IU, Porter spent two seasons in MLS with San Jose and Tampa Bay, but his career was cut short because of knee injuries. He won a bronze medal with the USA at the 1997 World University Games.

The Olympic men's soccer tournament is a U-23 competition that allows each team to include three “wild-card” players of any age. The qualifying tournament is U-23 pure.

* * *

U.S. Olympic team coaches*

2008 Beijing --
Peter Nowak
Eliminated in first round.

2004 Athens -- Glenn Myernick
Did not qualify.

2000 Sydney -- Clive Charles
Finished fourth.

1996 Atlanta – Bruce Arena
Eliminated in first round.

1992 Barcelona – Lothar Osiander
Eliminated in first round.

* Since the U-23 format was adopted.

7 comments about "Akron coach Caleb Porter to head men's Olympic quest".
  1. R2 Dad, October 21, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.

    Someone from college soccer? That is part of the problem, not the solution.

  2. Roger Sokol, October 21, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.

    The Akron Zips play a nice attacking style of soccer, so Porter is more of an exception to the norm. He also has an exceptional eye for talent as the recent MLS drafts from his program have shown.

  3. John Munnell, October 21, 2011 at 10:03 a.m.

    Agree with Roger --- dude is just earning a living coaching college. This will be a well deserved opportunity to see if he can step up a level or two.

  4. Don Rawson, October 21, 2011 at 10:54 a.m.

    Excellent choice.

    Congrats to US Soccer and to Coach Porter.

  5. Bill Ford, October 21, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.

    The future is here now with the selection of Porter. Akron is the college equivalent of Barca in terms of style and talent identification. His IQ for how the game is supposed to be played is off the charts!

  6. David Borts, October 21, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.

    Time will judge, however this appears to be a brilliant selection.

  7. James Froehlich, October 22, 2011 at 8:44 p.m.

    Was Klinsmann involved in this selection? Totally agree that this is a great choice. For me, Caleb Porter is a shining beacon in college soccer. Hopefully he is where college soccer is headed -- get rid of the long ball, physical dinosaurs.

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