Akron head coach Caleb Porter is set to leave the program at the end of the 2012 season to accept the same position with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers, the school announced Wednesday.
Porter will remain with Akron and guide the Zips through the current college soccer season, before taking the new role in December.
"I always believed that it would take a truly special situation for me to leave Akron, and the Portland Timbers position is that type of opportunity," Porter said in a statement. "Given how invested I have been in the Akron program and community for the past seven years, this has been an extremely difficult decision. However, after many conversations with my family and close advisors and, given my long-term aspirations, I feel this is the right time and place for me to take the next step in my coaching career.
"In making this announcement, everyone should know that my role with Akron during this college season will not change, nor will my commitment to the players, alumni and supporters. I am extremely proud to continue coaching my team through the fall and the Akron soccer program will have my undivided focus for what I hope will be another championship year. Out of respect to my players and this program, I will not be commenting further about this situation until after the conclusion of the 2012 college season."
The Timbers have been searching for a head coach since firing previous head coach Jon Spencer on July 27. In their second year in MLS, the Timbers have mustered a 6-13-6 record, second-worst point total in the league.
Since Spencer’s firing, General Manager Gavin Wilkinson has coached the team on an interim basis, as the team’s search for a new coach has progressed. Porter’s move to Portland will reunite him with former Zip Darlington Nagbe, who the team selected with the second overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
The 37-year-old Porter will take the reins in Portland after his seventh season in Akron. In his six previous seasons – not including the current one – the former Indiana assistant compiled an impressive record of 105-17-14, including an appearance in the 2009 national title game, and a 2010 national title win.
Along with that, he was the head coach of the U.S. U23 men’s national team that failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics this spring, as the U23s failed to get out of their group in qualifying.
He’ll stay on and guide the Zips through the remainder of the season, before departing the college ranks. Akron, which defeated Florida Gulf Coast in their opener last weekend, takes on Creighton this Friday.