Caleb Porter, head coach of the defending national champion University of Akron men's soccer team, has been named head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team, U.S. Soccer announced Thursday.
Porter, who will continue his role as the head coach of the Zips, will lead the U-23 team in its quest to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games when they compete in the CONCACAF qualifying in March next year.
"We are excited to have Caleb join our youth National Team staff," 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, who led Akron to its first team national championship in any sport last December, is the NCAA's winningest active coach with a career record of 100-15-12 (.835) over five and a half years. He is the fastest coach to reach 100 career wins in program history and is among the fastest of all Division I coaches all-time, accomplishing the feat in fewer games (126) than legendary Hall of Fame coaches Bruce Arena (140), Sigi Schmid (131) and others.
Porter joins an exclusive group of current college coaches serving as head 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).
"I am honored and feel extremely privileged to be given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the U.S. U-23s," Porter said. "I'm eager to start the process of putting the pieces together in preparation for Olympic qualifying in March."
Porter is hoping to lead the U.S. to its second-consecutive Olympic Games and its fifth since the tournament became an Under-23 event in 1992. The USA's best finish came in 2000 when the team reached the semifinal round before falling to Spain and finishing fourth. He had served the last three seasons as assistant coach on the U.S. U-18 National Team.
At Akron, Porter has recruited and developed 12 players who have been drafted into Major League Soccer in the last five years alone, including No. 1 overall pick Steve Zakuani in 2009, No. 4 pick Teal Bunbury in 2010 and No. 2 pick Darlington Nagbe in 2011. Moreover, the Zips set an MLS record with five of the first eight selections in the 2011 SuperDraft and seven draftees overall.
"This is a great honor for Coach Porter, for our University and for all of Northeast Ohio," said Dr. Luis M. Proenza, president of The University of Akron. "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, and he exemplifies the University's New Gold Standard for University Performance. We look forward to watching the U.S. men's soccer team in their drive to bring home the gold from London."
► See the full story on GoZips.com.