Caleb Porter to lead U.S. team
CHICAGO -- U.S. Soccer has picked Caleb Porter to coach the under-23 men's national team that will try to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
Porter currently is the coach of college powerhouse Akron, and will continue in that role while coaching the U.S. team.
"I am honored and feel extremely privileged to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity," Porter said. "I'm eager to start the process of putting the pieces together in preparation for Olympic qualifying in March."
The U.S. federation also chose former World Cup player Tab Ramos to coach the under-20 men's national team.
Porter led Akron to an NCAA Division I championship in 2010 and is 90-13-10 record in his first five seasons. He has recruited and developed 12 players at Akron who have been drafted by Major League Soccer in the past five years, including the 2009 No. 1 overall pick Steve Zakuani, No. 4 overall pick Teal Bunbury in 2010 and No. 2 overall pick Darlington Nagbe in 2011.
Five of the top eight picks in last year's MLS draft were from Akron.
"We are excited to have Caleb join our national team program," U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said. "Still early in his career, Caleb has been extremely successful and has demonstrated the ability to mentor and develop young players. A proven winner, we believe he will do a great job of leading our under-23 men's national team as they look to qualify for the Olympic Games next summer."
Porter has contributed to the U.S. Soccer youth national teams as an under-18 assistant coach and as a scout. He played college soccer at Indiana and briefly in MLS but retired after a knee injury.
Porter is hoping to lead the U.S. team to its second consecutive Olympics and its fifth since the tournament became an under-23 event in 1992. The United States' best finish came in 2000, when the team reached the semifinal round before losing to Spain and finishing fourth.
Ramos was a mainstay of three U.S. World Cup teams before going into coaching. He has been an assistant coach for the under-20 team and recently served as interim head coach.
"It is an honor for me to once again be representing the United States," Ramos said. "After ending my playing career, I've been working extremely hard to develop as a coach. I have had the opportunity to work with the youth national teams with some great coaches, and now I look forward to contributing in a much bigger way."
The U.S. will hold a training camp Nov. 7-16 in Germany that will feature players from both the under-23 and under-20 player pools. Ramos will run the camp, along with U.S. Soccer youth technical director Claudio Reyna.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press