AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron head men's soccer coach Caleb Porter announced Wednesday that he will be leaving the Zips at the end of the 2012 season to become the head coach of the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer.
"I always believed that it would take a truly special situation for me to leave Akron, and the Portland Timbers position is that type of opportunity," said Porter. "Given how invested I have been in the Akron program and community for the past seven years, this has been an extremely difficult decision. However, after many conversations with my family and close advisors and, given my long-term aspirations, I feel this is the right time and place for me to take the next step in my coaching career.
"In making this announcement, everyone should know that my role with Akron during this college season will not change, nor will my commitment to the players, alumni and supporters. I am extremely proud to continue coaching my team through the fall and the Akron soccer program will have my undivided focus for what I hope will be another championship year. Out of respect to my players and this program, I will not be commenting further about this situation until after the conclusion of the 2012 college season."
Since becoming the sixth head coach in Akron history in 2006, Porter, who owns the highest career win percentage (.825, 106-17-14) among all active Division I coaches, built the Zips' program into a perennial national championship contender while developing a style of play that is attractive and attack-oriented, yet effective on both sides of the ball.
In 2010, Porter, the 2009 NSCAA National Coach of the Year, led Akron to the school's first team national championship in any sport with a 1-0 victory over Louisville in the NCAA final.
"Coach Porter is admired as a leader, a motivator, and a champion on our campus and around the nation," said UA President Dr. Luis M. Proenza. "He sets an example for all of us — to pursue our objectives with passion and pride, and to live like champions.
"We look forward to another successful season this year. The team certainly got off to a great start on Friday night. We will delight in each soccer match this season, knowing that we are watching an extraordinary coach and gifted student athletes. And at the end of the season, we will wish Caleb well as he moves on to the next chapter in his career, and brings the Zip spirit to the great northwest."
Highly regarded for his tactical insight and ability to develop talent, Porter, 37, was named the head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team last fall after having served for three years (2009-11) as an assistant coach on the U-18 team.
In the last six years, Porter and his staff have produced 14 players who are currently competing in MLS, including a league-record five first-round selections and seven overall picks in 2011. In Portland, Porter will be reunited with former Zips' All-American striker and Hermann Trophy winner Darlington Nagbe, who was the No. 2 pick of the 2011 draft.
"During his time at Akron, Caleb developed a championship program on and off the field," said UA Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill. "It's in the best interest of our student-athletes that he continues to serve as our head coach through the season as they pursue their goals.
"We wish Caleb, Andrea and the rest of their family all the best with this opportunity. I am confident that this will be a highly sought-after position because of the foundation Caleb has put in place, and I know the future of Akron soccer is bright."