U.S. Under-23 national team Caleb Porter is one of the most highly-regarded young coaches in American soccer, and his appointment to lead the United States through Olympic Qualifying didn't come as much of a surprise to those familiar with his success at the University of Akron.
Ives Galarcep interviews Porter on his philosophies of the game-
ON THE STYLE OF SOCCER HE TEACHES
"I’m a guy that never wants to go into a game and sit back and wait and worry and wonder and hang on,” Porter said. “I want to go at teams and I want my players to be confident when they go onto a field."
“I want them to be creative. I want them to have the ball."
"It’s built around possession of the ball and ball retention. Approximately 75 percent of the time the team with more possession wins the game."
"It’s not a style that’s hard to get guys to buy into, everyone wants the ball. What’s hard is getting them to be effective with it."
"We have a lot of technical players and I think by encouraging them to play you’ll see their technical qualities and creativity come out even more than you may even realize with some of these guys.
"I don’t think you have to have 11 guys that are world class to do it,” Porter said. “If you can coach it the right way, and if you can get your players to buy into playing one and two touch, and work on movement and combination play, and buy into pressing, it can be done."
ON THE ORIGINS OF HIS STYLE OF PLAY
"I’ve always liked pressing. When I was at Indiana (University) we were always a pressing team and I always felt like that’s why we're so confident as a team. It gives you a spirit and belief that when you press and disrupt an opponent."
"I start watching Barcelona three or four years ago and really, really studying them and it was like the a-ha moment. I thought in my mind that I wanted to put out a style that was pressing, but also attack-oriented with a lot of rhythm and creativity, and Barcelona was playing a perfect version of that.
"It’s the possession and the pressure, the combination of the two. Obviously they’re very talented too."
ON HIS STYLE'S SUCCESS ON THE COLLEGE LEVEL
"I implemented that philosophy at Akron and some people thought it was probably too ambitious for college soccer. Here we are, trying to play the beautiful game and playing hybrid systems and build out of the back and use my goalkeeper. Hopefully I’ve proven it can happen."
"It develops players and it's hopefully a way of doing things that can help grow the sport in this country."
"I won championships at Indiana, and so for me when I went to Akron it wasn’t going to just be good enough to win championships. I wanted to win in a way that would actually raise the bar and develop players, grow the sport and get other college coaches to follow our lead and see that you can win in college soccer with an attractive, attack-oriented approach."