By Michael Beaven
University of Akron men’s soccer coach Caleb Porter is continuing his ascent up the coaching ranks within U.S. Soccer.
Porter was named the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team coach Thursday. He will lead the U-23 team in CONCACAF qualifying in March in its quest to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Porter, 36, will remain the Zips coach in addition to taking on this new position.
“I am honored and feel extremely privileged to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team,” Porter said in a statement.
“I'm eager to start the process of putting the pieces together in preparation for Olympic qualifying in March.”
Porter is in his sixth season as UA’s coach after guiding the Zips to the national title in 2010 and a national runnerup finish in 2009. He is the NCAA’s winningest active coach with a career record of 100-15-12 (.835) and has served as an assistant coach on the U.S. U-18 National Team during the past three years.
“Still early in his career, Caleb has been extremely successful and has demonstrated the ability to mentor and develop young players,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “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.”
During his tenure at UA, 12 former Zips have played in Major League Soccer. There are 11 players currently on an MLS roster, including 2009 No. 1 overall draft selection Steve Zakuani, 2010 No. 4 pick Teal Bunbury and 2011 No. 2 pick Darlington Nagbe.
Porter, a Kalamazoo, Mich. native, played soccer at Indiana University under Hall of Fame coach Jerry Yeagley and then in the MLS.
Porter is the fastest coach to reach 100 career wins in UA history, and is also among the fastest of all Division I coaches, accomplishing the feat in fewer games (126) than Hall of Fame coaches Bruce Arena (140) and Sigi Schmid (131).
“Caleb is most deserving of this opportunity and we are all excited for him,” UA Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said. “He has enjoyed success at every level of his career as a coach and player, so it's no surprise that he was selected for this role with U.S. Soccer. He has done a tremendous job as head coach of our men's program.”
Porter, who is under contract with UA through 2020, joins an exclusive group of current college coaches serving as coach of a U.S. Olympic qualifying team that includes Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (men’s basketball) and Wisconsin’s Mark Johnson (women’s hockey).
“This is a great honor for Coach Porter, for our University and for all of Northeast Ohio,” UA President Dr. Luis M. Proenza said. “Coach Porter has made us all proud, with his sheer determination and drive to succeed. Some are visionaries, others are achievers. Coach Porter is that rare combination of both.”
Porter was named NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 2009 and has won the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year award in each of the past four seasons.
Tab Ramos, an American three-time World Cup veteran, was hired to coach the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team.