Photo by Shane Wynn
Caleb Porter, head coach of the UA men's soccer team, has been "living, eating and breathing" soccer from a very young age. Growing up, he remembers having posters of his favorite players in his room and "memorizing the entire video" of the '88 European championships. Oh, and upsetting his mom when he'd break things while kicking the ball around the house.
But all the broken collectible paid off when Porter went on play soccer at the college level, ultimately hoping to play professionally. Despite sustaining a knee injury before his final year of soccer at Indiana University, Porter played a brief stint in major league soccer. But he quickly decided he couldn't continue playing through the constant pain.
Still, Porter knew he wouldn't give up his love of the game, so he went on to do the next best thing -- coach at his alma mater. By the sixth year, however, Porter was itching to lead a team of his own. Ultimately, he signed with UA in 2006 and has since led the team to an overall record of 68-12-8 (.818) and 20-1-1 (.932) in Mid-American Conference play. Last season, the team was just one penalty kick short of winning the NCAA Division I Championship.
And it all comes back to Porter's dedication to the game. "I'm fanatical about it; you could call it borderline obsessed," he says. "As a coach, you're rarely turning it off. Even when I'm not in the office I'm watching games or reading books."
The most fulfilling part of the job: "(College soccer) is a high level of soccer, but the players are still kids, and they still have a lot to learn. I really enjoy the fact that I can help them grow -- not only as soccer players, but as people."
Why he came to Akron: He wanted join a program where he could accomplish the same things he was accomplishing at Indiana.
When he's not on the field: He's spending time with his wife and two young sons.
Inspirations: Jerry Yeagley, his former coach and mentor as both a player and assistant coach at Indiana University and this quote by former NFL coach Don Shula: "A raging river without banks is a puddle."
Favorite movies: "Gladiator" and "Remember the Titans"
Favorite Starbucks drinks: Grande Pike Place Roast and Iced Caramel Macchiato
Favorite book: "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John C. Maxwell
Passions: Porter is a Dave Matthews fan as well as self-declared adrenaline junkie. He really enjoys amusement parks and has gone skydiving with his wife.
Why Spain deserved to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup: They have some of the most creative players.
Favorite soccer players growing up: Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio and Tab Ramos.
His plans for the team over the next five years: "Some coaches like to build and then leave," he says. "I consider myself a sustainer. I like to build something to a high level, and then just drive it."