Port of success runs through Caleb

            Caleb Porter is at it again. As spring exhibition matches wrapped up Wednesday night, The University of Akron men’s soccer team eyes an August 27 matchup with Cleveland State to open up their regular season.

            Just less than four months remain until the Zips open up their 2011 campaign hosting the Vikings, their lone loss in 2010, as they will take newly named Cub Cadet Field as defending national champions.


            Caleb Porter is at it again. As spring exhibition matches wrapped up Wednesday night, The University of Akron men’s soccer team eyes an August 27 matchup with Cleveland State to open up their regular season.

            Just less than four months remain until the Zips open up their 2011 campaign hosting the Vikings, their lone loss in 2010, as they will take newly named Cub Cadet Field as defending national champions.

            Only four starters remain from the national championship team just a year ago, but with Porter at the helm, the transition may look easy. In Porter’s five years at the U of A he has compiled a 90-13-10 record, good enough to become the NCAA’s winningest active coach.

            While much of Porter’s success at Akron can be measured by wins and the changes he has brought to the program, he himself has been the one constant to the University’s most successful athletic program. The turnover of players has been tremendous, as Porter has harvested some of the nation’s top talent, but a drop off from year to year has been nonexistent throughout his five years at Akron.

            13 players have been drafted out of The University of Akron into Major League Soccer since 2006, but the product on the field remains the same. Whether that is a credit to his coaching, recruiting or both, Porter without a doubt has had the biggest influence on the output of his teams.

            Porter’s contributions go far beyond the lines on a soccer field. What he has done with renovations, promotions and the University as a whole is unmatched by any coach in Akron history.

            Porter has convinced futbol players from Jamaica and Costa Rica to come play soccer in blizzards. He has bought tickets so students could travel to NCAA Tournament games for free and Fill the Hill. He headed the renovation to Lee R. Jackson Field (now Cub Cadet Field), as it is now a first-rate venue to watch and play a college soccer game.

            The success of the men’s soccer team has resonated around campus and given students, faculty and alumni a sense of pride in being a Zip.

            Anyone who doubts the importance of athletics needs to look at what a program like Porter’s can do for a school. It is more than a few wins or even a national championship; Akron soccer is now a staple of the University.

            Through the program’s success, Porter has made a university in Northeast Ohio become known for soccer. That alone is unbelievable, aside from the fact that he has done it all in five years, nonetheless.

            Time will only tell what will happen this fall, with many familiar faces gone and unfamiliar faces welcomed in, but Porter has set the standard of being a national title competitor.

            Look at what he has done; it is hard not to believe him.