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DCU's Interest in Caleb Porter

Following the College Cup final today, Akron Coach Caleb Porter told me that D.C. United has sought permission from university officials to discuss with him the MLS club's head coaching vacancy.

"They have called my athletic director. My AD told them they weren't allowed to talk to me until after the year. I have to think about things, let the dust settle, and if they want to talk ..... I don't know enough about the situation to know if I would be interested. That's a different jump. Certainly I will listen, but at the same time, I need to think about where things are. I love Akron, I love the players, we return a great group."

Speaking generally about possible job offers, he said: "At this point, I am at Akron. I don't know enough about anything to be able to tell you that any of the options are something I would explore. Right now, I'm concerned about our guys -- their hearts are broken -- and I am not thinking about anything else. Certainly I know that there are some opportunities out there. I know my athletic director has been contacted, but I haven't had any conversations to know at this point. Will I have those conversations? I don't know. I would have to think about it."

By Steve Goff  |  December 13, 2009; 4:59 PM ET
Categories:  College Soccer  
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Comments

So DCU narrowed the search to two people (Onalfo and Porter) without talking to one of those people? Something is missing. I suspect Sven is secretly negotiating a contract!

Posted by: rockotodd | December 13, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Stay where you are Mr. Porter. You've done and will continue to do a good job where it matters and will be appreciated for years to come. United will be looking for a coach again next year and the year after......

Posted by: footballfan9 | December 13, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

porter did the right thing not talking now. his guys are hurting. I'm sure he is telling the truth, but not necessarily the whole truth. he probably hasn't spoken directly to dcu, but his rep or the ad has undoubtedly received a general idea of the terms dcu is offering.

Posted by: troy6 | December 13, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I can't really see Porter coming to DCU. I might be wrong, but everything I've read leads me to believe this may be another case of Payne and Co. putting all their eggs in one basket, and then getting left with a really crappy plan B. AKA: The Veron/Gallardo Experiment.

Is Ben sure he doesn't want the job?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 13, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

This may be a blessing in disguise, let's head back to looking at Onalfo and Richie Williams. Onalfo has the experience and playing style to be successful, Porter was a gamble to begin with

Posted by: abrown1662 | December 13, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I would give Onalfo a shot - why not?

Posted by: ManOfLaMancha | December 13, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

abrown1662, not sure you've watched a Kansas City game recently. They have been neither successful or interesting during his entire stay.

I actually think the above is a positive. Coming from a man who recently put out a statement about how he couldn't see himself leaving, this is a noticeable change in tone. His team just played a final, it's not the day to talk about how much he wants to jump ship. Having said that, it's not a sure thing by any stretch. Either option makes sense for him.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 13, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Frankly I didn't find Akron to be a brand of exciting soccer United Demon. Back to Back 0-0 draws doesn't scream interesting.

Onalfo plays a 4-4-2 with high backs and attempts to attack. The KC Wizards didn't give him that much talent to work with and look at what happened as soon as he left... things went down hill fast for the Wizards

Posted by: abrown1662 | December 13, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

abrown - did you watch either game? They were nil-nil, but not for lack of trying. Both UNC and UVA had lots of bodies in the box on defense, and Akron controlled possession and attacked through the bulk of both games. Goals aren't easy to come by against good, organized defenses. More importantly, I wouldn't judge a coaching hire decision on the basis of watching two games.

Posted by: TheAMT | December 13, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

They did, however, show excellent skill and defensive ability against teams that had superior individual stars and tough defense.

Kansas City might not be a great organization, but they did give him plenty of time. DC is trying to get back to the top of the table, and Onalfo is not going to get us there, period. As for the attacking outside backs, that seemed to be the Only thing Onalfo had up his sleeve (where his energy and draft picks went to die). The rest was praying for Lopez or Arnaud to pull the rabbit out of the hat.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 13, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

------------------------------------------
Stay where you are Mr. Porter. You've done and will continue to do a good job where it matters and will be appreciated for years to come. United will be looking for a coach again next year and the year after......

Posted by: footballfan9 | December 13, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

I think you have United confused with the Red Bulls. If DCU ever fires a coach after one season, it will say more about the coach than the team.

Posted by: stancollins | December 13, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

what a loss for the Zips. I hope he stays w/the team and gets a deserved trophy. And I hope DC goes another direction.

Posted by: nairbsod | December 13, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The fact is Onalfo has several years experience in the role of MLS head coach, he's been affiliated with United before, and pursues offensive strategies. We can speculate as to how successful Porter may be, but we know he is also the same age as Jaime Moreno-and has never coached a professional team before.

Posted by: abrown1662 | December 13, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Agree to disagree. Onalfo repulses me.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 13, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Repulses...???? Can we remember there's a real world beyond the electrons here?

Posted by: fischy | December 13, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

1. I found Porter's comments to be classy. I'd have had him go down a few notches in my book if, right after losing the College Cup on PKs, he says "yep, I'd love to jump ship." Geez folks--get a grip. We'd like to think we're a classy organization. Porter at least makes it sound like he's not a Jimmy Valvano or Rick Pitino who every second of every moment is thinking "where could I jump to and move up!".

2. He said nothing that indicated he wouldn't talk to DC United or wouldn't be interested. Instead, he basically said "I need to focus on my kids and we've got a great program and I'm not eager to jump ship and I don't know anything else"--that's the summary.

3. Those who say that DCU has put all their eggs into one basket or haven't talked to him are REALLY jumping to conclusions. The way stuff like this goes is that you have a conversation with the coach but not about the actual position (b/c you probably haven't seen Soehn leave yet or don't want to be perceived as meddling). So instead you call to ask about players and then gently steer the conversation to "if you were to coach an MLS team, what would it take?" Payne had a bunch of conversations with Nowak before Payne ever formally interviewed him for the head coach role.

4. Olsen for head coach? Give me a break. Even Benny said he's not ready. I love heart and passion and the connection to the team. But by those standards we could hire Nick Rimando to be our head coach.

5. I think Onalfo would be a very good choice. I think Caleb Porter is intriguing. I think that when Payne is convinced he's found his someone special, his man, he's willing to wait and make exceptions. He did it with Arena (waiting extra long and then cutting the deal so he'd be a part-time head coach while Arena coached the Olympic side). He did the same thing with Nowak--never formally interviewing Hamlett or JCO. You can criticize some of our coaching decisions (Rongen, Soehn) but basically, there are two guys that Payne indicated he though were rare people--when he hired them (not after the fact). One was Arena, the other was Nowak. Everyone else who has been on his short list (Gansler--runnerup to Arena, Gough and Hudson, Rongen and runnerup Nicol, Soehn by default), Payne has said good things about. But he didn't bend over backwards to get and he didn't talk about what an extraordinary person that hire was. Being willing to wait an extra 2 weeks (which is basically what waiting for Porter has entailed) is basically saying that Payne thinks he's a rare breed.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 13, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I dont think DCU has enough time for him to learn about the situation or to let the dust settle. If he is unaware of DC United's situation and lacks experience why is he such an attractive candidate? I already dont rate him that highly and we haven't even talked to him. Don't think hes ready to handle the pressure at DC United.

Posted by: totalfootballer | December 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The other thing to consider is that time is running out. Camp usually open around late January and if DCU can't speak to Porter until Jan. 1st at the earliest, that doesn't leave much time to get things ready. It's not exactly the best way to start a rebuilding effort.

Posted by: addick | December 13, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I think a win would lead him to look for other oppoortunuties. Orr a rough loss. But this one? Outplaying a traditional powerhouse with guys no one ever heard of before they came to Akron? I don't know enough about the game at that level, but Porter is either finding serious diamonds in the rough, or he's a heck of a recruiter, convincing them to give up places like Chapel Hill, College Park, Westwood and Santa Barbara for freaking Akron? Have you ever been to Akron?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | December 13, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere Curt Onalfo is pumping his fist right now.

This isn't a bad thing though. Porter is just saying that he's willing to listen to other offers. But that up until now, he has been focusing on Akron. I wouldn't want it any other way!

JoeW1 brings up an excellent point that it is worth the wait for Payne to find out whether or not Caleb Porter is the next Arena/Nowak. It's not like we actually lost anything by waiting two weeks extra until the end of the College Cup. If it turns out that Porter doesn't interview well and that Onalfo is our #1 choice, then he will still be there when we are ready.

Posted by: DCUMD | December 13, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Joe, might as well just leveled points 3 and 4 directly at me.
I should have put a winky emoticon after my Olsen comment, I really don't think the dude is ready for anything other than an assistants job. I do however worry about waiting too long to find a guy though.

The only thing I have to go on here has to do with Goff's reporting and by all accounts there's not a lot on the radar other than Onalfo and Porter. Steve did say he could be missing something, but really how often is he really oblivious to what's going on?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 13, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

"convincing them to give up places like Chapel Hill, College Park, Westwood and Santa Barbara for freaking Akron? Have you ever been to Akron?"

You sir have never been to a Swensons... never tasted a Galley Boy. They also deep fry everything imaginable. Even Goff would be impressed.

Posted by: crewfanscott | December 13, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Porter is either finding serious diamonds in the rough, or he's a heck of a recruiter, convincing them to give up places like Chapel Hill, College Park, Westwood and Santa Barbara for freaking Akron? Have you ever been to Akron?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | December 13, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------

Whoa, you lost me at College Park. I love the DC metro area as much as the next guy, but did you just list College Park in the same sentence as Chapel Hill, Westwood, and Santa Barbara? College Park isn't exactly scenic.

To answer the real question, Porter has done a good job targeting some players that other programs have not. The Cali teams take a lot of in-state kids, same with Virginia and Carolina teams. Porter has Indiana to battle with in middle of America, but he has some fertile turf, not to mention he has serious international talent (how many kids in the telecast did we hear were sons of foreign team captains and players). Looking at the recruiting rankings, he's not finding diamonds, he's working globally to find known talent.

Posted by: VamosUnited | December 13, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

id say hes a heck of a recruiter. they had the number one class in the country the past two years.

Posted by: aubartolomei | December 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget the conversations with possible "foreign" coaches United is having *cough* Etcheverry *cough*

I don't want Onalfo here... he strikes me as a Soehn-clone.

Posted by: alecw81 | December 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The fact that DCU waited until after the college final suggests that they weren't overwhelmed by Onalfo or any of the other candidates. I think Porter has built the beginnings of an exceptional college program in an unlikely place, and his success will make recruiting easier. But I wouldn't be too quick to assume that every college coach is salivating for the chance to coach in MLS. With all those freshmen and sophomores returning, Porter is looking at a successful future even without uprooting his family. I thought his comments showed real class, and I like the thought of an upstanding individual coaching here. But I like Onalfo, and think he could do as well as anyone at this point.

Posted by: b18bolo | December 13, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope they bring in someone who has an attacking philosphy. DC United has always been about attacking soccer. We have a couple of great coaches in the Baltimore-Washington area who would fit that criteria.

Posted by: highlandtownoldtimer | December 13, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Crew about Swensons. I just don't see Porter giving up access to Galley Boys, or to Great Lakes beer for that matter.

Posted by: DaninFL | December 14, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey would you guys say that Soehn was good at grooming young talent or not? Perhaps that's why Porter is being heavily considered?

Posted by: DaninFL | December 14, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I was at the college cup this weekend and I really liked Akrons style. It is a possesion oriented game, that would suit the DCU standard of play. As for those that just saw the scorelines of 0-0 and 1-1, the college cup can be a bit tighter than most regular season games, teams take less chances. MY concern is Porters youth and lack of experience beyond college. But if given a choice between Porter and Onalfo I would take Porter.

Posted by: jjfooty | December 14, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Yes, those that actually saw the games this weekend had to be impressed with Akron. Watching Akron, I saw more 2-touch passes than almost any game I've seen recently, including EPL. Especially the first half against NC, it almost seemed like Caleb told everyone (except for their stars) that they only had 2 touches! I was very impressed with their possession style game and wish Porter a lot of success, whatever he chooses to do.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | December 14, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, beautiful College Park :)

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

He's not good enough...Not experienced enough. Go with Onalfo...

Posted by: alan19 | December 14, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Why not hire Gelnovatch, sit back in a 4-5-1, and beat the crap out of everyone in MLS? Up our average fouls per game to like 25 or 30? "Defense" wins championships!!!

Posted by: OWNTF | December 14, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Aren't our average fouls already 25-30?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What, hire a winner? Good idea.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Up our average fouls per game to like 25 or 30"

Could we get Geoff Aunger back?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Yeah and why not Dema for a last hurrah. We can be the Blackburn of MLS.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 14, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Crew about Swensons. I just don't see Porter giving up access to Galley Boys, or to Great Lakes beer for that matter.

Posted by: DaninFL | December 14, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

...or the chicken at Belgrade Gardens. (My dad is from south Akron, down by Portage Lakes and Firestone Country Club.)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 14, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Why not hire Gelnovatch, sit back in a 4-5-1, and beat the crap out of everyone in MLS? Up our average fouls per game to like 25 or 30? "Defense" wins championships!!!"

If it led us to success, no one would complain. Keep in mind that Gelnovatch's guys were also 2nd in the nation in offense, with fewest goals allowed. Not just bruisers...

Posted by: carmines757 | December 14, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

KLINSMAN!

Posted by: alan19 | December 14, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

We can be the Blackburn of MLS.
Posted by: OWNTF
================

10,000 (pot) holes in Washington.
And though the holes were rather small,
They had to count them all.
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill DAR Constitution Hall.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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