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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?
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