Portland Timbers have announced Caleb Porter is to be their new head coach. He will take up his post after the current college season.
The announcement was made on the club website and included details of the timing:
‘Porter, 37, will remain the head coach at Akron through the 2012 NCAA season. He will assume his role with the Timbers and be introduced formally as the club’s second MLS head coach at a news conference in Portland in December.’
Porter currently coaches the University of Akron side, known as the Zips where he won the NCAA Men’s Division in 2010. He replaces former Houston assistant coach John Spencer in Portland who was dismissed in July.
Porter was understandably delighted about his new task:
“I am truly excited and honored to be provided this unique opportunity to coach the Portland Timbers,” the club tweeted within minutes of the announcement.
After Spencer’s dismissal, General Manager Gavin Wilkinson had been taking care of coaching matters on an interim basis. This will continue until Porter takes up the reins.
Timbers Owner and President Merritt Paulson was full of praise for his new coach:
“Put simply, I believe Caleb Porter is the best young soccer coaching mind in the country,” said Paulson.
“He is the right fit for the Timbers on every level. We went through an exhaustive and thorough search over the last couple months where we spoke with some truly excellent candidates, but Caleb quickly emerged as the consensus target. We look forward to 2013 and beyond with Caleb at our helm.”
Interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson added:
“Caleb is ambitious and one of the most respected coaches in the nation. He has consistently developed and produced talented players who have gone on to excel in MLS.
We feel that his mentality, personality, skill set and coaching philosophy are a tremendous fit with the culture of the Timbers organization and we’re excited to bring Caleb on as the Timbers head coach.”
Current Timbers start Darlington Nagbe was one of Porter’s charges in Akron, as were Sounders Steve Zakuani, DC United defender Petty Kitchen and Teal Bunbury of Sporting Kansas City.
Porter is known to be a big fan of Nagbe. Speaking to the Timbers website in January 2011, he said:
“He plays with a passion that I don’t see a lot of American kids play with. He’s a very humble kid, very quiet, but on the field he comes to life.
In addition to that, it’s his athleticism. So really, it’s the two things: it’s the skill and the athleticism that I think are top, top in. Those two things combined make him a game-changer.”
Porter has also coached the US Under 23s where he follows in the footsteps of a Timbers legend, Clive Charles, as well as current LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. He failed to take that side to the London Olympics after a 2-0 loss to Canada.
Porter is 37 but is far from the youngest MLS Head Coach. Martin Rennie (Vancouver), Ben Olsen (DC United) and Jay Heaps (New England) are younger.