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Porter turns down D.C. United, signs new deal with Akron

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In a move that will surely come as a shock in MLS circles, highly-regarded University of Akron head coach Caleb Porter has turned down the job as D.C. United head coach after being offered the position just a day after Akron lost in the NCAA College Cup Final to Virginia in penalty kicks.

Multiple sources told SBI on Tuesday evening that D.C. United offered Porter the job on Monday, and after some soul-searching, Porter decided to stay with Akron. The University issued a press release announcing that it had signed Porter to a new five-year contract on late Tuesday.

"After reaching the pinnacle of college soccer this season, my vision will be to sustain the program for long-term success as one of the nation's elite programs," Porter said in the Akron statement. "This an exciting time for Akron Soccer and with upgrades to the facility on the horizon I am confident we have all the resources necessary to continue competing for national championships for many years to come."

So why did Porter pass on D.C. United?

Sources have told SBI that Porter had some reservations about making the jump from college to MLS at this point in his career (Porter turns 35 in February). There was also the desire to stay with Akron, a team he built from small team to national power, and make another run at an NCAA title after finishing this year undefeated before losing in penalties in the championship match. With most of the team's nucleus expected back, Akron would likely be considered a title favorite in 2010.

Where will D.C. United turn to next? Former Kansas City head coach and D.C. United assistant Curt Onalfo had been considered the most likely choice if Porter were not named head coach, but the search may be extended after D.C. missed out on its top target.

What do you think of this development? Surprised? Glad to see a coach stick by his school, or do you think Porter is making a mistake? Who do you see D.C. hiring next?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This incident suggests that Porter thinks of other people as opposed to just himself. He is a man of honor and is fulfilling his word and obligations to the University and his players. The goal is still a National Championship.

    It is nice to see a coach with such outstanding character. His teams professionalism is a reflection of him.

  2. I agree about Richie!! He does not urinate on the potted plants or paw anyone’s daughter. Kevin Payne is just being dumb!
    Richie would work his ass off for the team! Players already respect him!!

  3. As a Galaxy Supporter and MLS supporter since 96′ this year more than any other year proved that DC should definitely look for someone that knows the league. We proved in LA that bringing in a “Big Name” coach like Gullit was utter suicide, not to mention having an idiot like Lalas calling the shots. Bruce Arena is living proof that experience in the league and it’s unique workings is everything in MLS. Maybe Onalfo would good for DC instead of someone that has no prior MLS coaching experience and has very little time to acclimate and have a proper squad for the 2010 season.

  4. Porter answered Ives’ question already [Read closely]: “…with upgrades to the facility on the horizon I am confident we have all the resources necessary to continue competing for national championships for many years to come.”

    Ahem. Translation: I’ve been to DCU’s irredeemable, soulless megadome and saw my own professional grave.

  5. I’ve heard two stories: that Porter said he’d talk to DCU and then changed his mind and signed the new contract with Akron and that DCU made him an offer and he turned them down and signed with Akron.

    As for paying Emilio 50%–what a crazy idea. Paying Emilio 50% of his 2009 salary still makes him a DP player. Why cut him 50% in that case since he still has the same cap hit and still ties up your DP slot? You either cut him to below DP status (say….$250k) or you pay him DP money more or less or you let him go (which is what I think will happen).

  6. I agree with the comments from Dennis. It looks like Caleb Porter is a class act; he will have other offers from MLS teams in the future. DC United are a mess right now, anyway. I let my season tickets go two seasons ago and don’t regret the decision. The front office has lost the script. Porter probably sees that and factored it into his decision-making process. No new stadium, bad decisions concerning personnel (releasing Brian Carroll and Bobby Boswell; signing the latest South American mystery player of the month), and now looking at Curt Onalfo as the new head coach all serve to highlight just how much trouble the franchise is in. Kevin Payne needs to get a grip.


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