MLS- Portland Timbers

Porter named Timbers coach, will take over after conclusion of college season

Porter (ISI)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Caleb Porter is making the jump to the professional ranks, but not until December. 

Porter was named the new coach of the Portland Timbers Wednesday, where he will take over full-time duties from interim coach and general manager Gavin Wilkinson, who took over for the ousted John Spencer. Porter will assume the Timbers' post following the conclusion of the 2012 NCAA men's soccer season, and he will be formally introduced at a press conference in December.

Porter, who guided the Akron Zips (ranked No. 1 in SBI's College Soccer poll) to a national championship in 2010, will look to exit the college game on top again before taking over for a franchise whose rabid fanbase is starved for a perennial winner, much like Akron has become under Porter's watch.

"Put simply, I believe Caleb Porter is the best young soccer coaching mind in the country," Timbers owner and president Merritt Paulson said. "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.”

For the 37-year-old Porter, a former standout at Indiana University and draft pick of the San Jose Clash in his playing days, the move comes five months after he was unable to guide the U.S. Under-23 men's national team to Olympic qualification. He will be reunited in Portland with former Akron standout Darlington Nagbe while inheriting a team that sits on the bottom of the Western Conference with a 6-13-6 record a year after coming close to making the playoffs in its expansion season. 

“I know that Merritt and Gavin are committed to long-term success for the Timbers and, come December, I will be completely focused and driven to continue building a professional club in which the Timbers supporters, city and organization will be proud of," Porter said. "In the meantime, out of respect to the Akron program, I will not be commenting further on this matter until after the conclusion of the 2012 college season.” 


What do you think of this development? Do you think this is the right hire for the Timbers? How do you see Porter faring as a coach in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Kejsare

    A decision was made before the coaching search to expand the field. We just learned about it this week.


  • hogatroge

    For Portland’s sake, I hope his godawful management of the Olympic Qualifying squad was a fluke.

    People like to complain that he didn’t have the best U23s available, but keeping Sheanon Williams and Joe Gyau benched for the third game is nearly criminal and, in hindsight, inexcusable.


  • GW

    Success at one level, for a player or a manager,is never a guarantee of success at a higher level but it sure beats failure.

    If you are good at recruiting that probably means you are:

    1.) Good at evaluating talent

    2.) Convincing that talent to do something you want them to do.

    Sounds like a pretty good start to me.

    The surest path to success for any manager is to have as many good players as possible.


  • Scott A

    Porter didn’t not like MLS before, he just didn’t like the District of Columbia and DCU I guess.


  • MidWest Ref

    Wait a second, are you asking me to track back and look at all of your posts before commenting?

    I was responding to your prior post. Your prior post challenged the selection of 3 MLS pros, including Freddy Adu who was the captain and assists leader during Olympic qualifying, and if you watched the games (I trust that you did based on your knowledge), clearly the leader on the field.

    You are upset that Porter did not play Gyau more. In fact, you used the phrase, Gyau rotted on the bench. Porter was in charge of the U23’s for 4 games as I review the history. 1 was a warm up win over Mexico – tough to complain about the choices there. The second was a 6-0 win over Cuba – tough to criticize a comprehensive win. The next was a 2-0 loss. You could criticize, except Gyau played the entire second half, when he came on for Aguedelo – who I think most people believe was a pretty good U23 too. Oh yeah, he didn’t score. The game against El Salvador – well, we were in a position we shouldn’t have been; were down; were up; and then out. I wont try to defend Porter’s choices in this game.

    Next, you say that your comment was not about those pros (which it was), but the defenders. Okay, he did pick many of his Akron defenders – but again, they were All- Americans – who was objectively better? Furthermore, he seldom played Sarkodie, Kitchen and Valentin at the same time; rather bringing them in to face different teams. I didn’t duck your question; you re-raised it from a prior post.

    On Rongen, he did a fine job, but he is not the end all beat all. Plus he had many years on the developmental US squads. Porter was appointed in late Oct of 2011; had 2 or 3 camps; a warm up game v. Mex; and then the qualifiers in Feb/Mar of 2012. Not an excuse, just showimg the difference between Rongen’s long term with the US nats and Porter’s short term.

    It is a terrible disappointment that we did not qualify for the olympics, but to say he is not qualified to coach Portland because of it is something else entirely.

    On his performance in the college game – Akron has been at the top of the NCAA’s since he took over. He doesn’t play in a highly compettive league like the ACC to help with recruiting. I am not sure what more you would want from a college coach.


  • GW

    While it was a complete disaster the Under 23 bomb was not enough of a sample size on which to completely bury Porter.

    What struck me about it was that it seemed he barely had five minutes to turn that group into a team.

    Great coaches can do that ( Porter is not great yet) but this group, at least the one that eventually showed up, seemed oddly unbalanced. And I’m not sure you can blame any one person for that.

    I was not as impressed with Gyau as most of you seemed to be.

    He reminded me of vintage Steve McMahon, often going on mazy runs with the ball eventually running into blind alleys and leading to nothing. All sizzle, no steak.

    Whether that was the coaching scheme, everyone’s unfamiliarity with each other or just Gyau not being focused and using his vision I don’t know. But he given how he was playing, his limited minutes were not a surprise.

    I haven’t seen enough of Williams playing for the US to comment but then, maybe there is a reason for that.


  • Gray

    Portland reminds of when Chivas came into the league. They operate on a combination of arrogance and ignorance. They expect to dominate with no clue as to how to be successful in MLS. As for Porter, he seems to fit that business model to a T.


  • Juan from L.A.

    This guy will be an epic fail…unbeliavable after his disaster of coaching the U-23 and FAILING he gets the nod to coach a professional team? In any other country that is elite or professional he would be an assistant at best of a veteran coach cause Porter showed he needs to learn a lot at the professional level. The NCAA is not even amateur level with its stupid rules and playing 4 out of 12 months at best. As for Portland…you’ll continue being the laughing stock of the league…AS FOR THOSE IDIOTS who continue to live on a friendly of which we beat the eventual Olympic Champions one word for you guys-PATHETIC!


  • jb

    I dont know if Porter will be a successful pro coach much less a candidate for the USMNT. But to condemn him for the 2 month whirlwind that was the failed olympic qualification is extremely shortsighted. They were very impressive in the first two games, including a friendly win over the eventual gold medal winner. I cant recall the Canada match, which result is surely where the team was knocked out. The ES match, you can certainly argue Porter should have made some defensive subs earlier, but this was really his first ever experience managing the international game under pressure. I’m willing to give him a pass and certainly expect he learned from it. You cant blame him for the atrocious goalkeeping errors.


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