Caleb Porter in the news: Portland Timbers head coach walks with John Canzano and talks with Grant Wahl and the Oregonian

Caleb Porter #3, Timbers vs. Sounders, 10.13.13

Fresh from being named a finalist for the 2013 MLS Coach of the Year, Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter took a long lap around the JELD-WEN Field pitch with Oregonian sportswriter John Canzano for a unique and wide-ranging interview. Talking about the 2013 season, his first Timbers game as a spectator and his hopes for this weekend's game against RSL, it's a personal chat about his time so far in the Rose City.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl also penned a great profile on Porter though he approached it from a different angle. Beginning with Porter's disappointment in not getting the U.S. Soccer men's U-23 team to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics, the story explains how Porter examined that experience and wrote a 150 page report looking at every element surronding it. After his intense self-examination Porter, in Wahl's words, "punched that failure in the nose — knocked it out cold — and started working again."

"I felt it was something I had to do to learn from it," says Porter, who had built an NCAA powerhouse at Akron from 2006 to 2012. "International coaching is very cruel. I lost one game in five months, and in the end it wasn't enough. And now I'm a failure and I can't coach and I don't know what I'm doing. But you have to listen to that. It was very humbling, and it hardened me too. To go into a pro environment you have to have thick skin and deal with that. I needed that in some ways to be ready."
There was something else that Porter's Olympic autopsy revealed in him, too, he says:
"It made me really, really hungry."
Taking that experience with U.S. Soccer and re-channeling it into a new head coachign position in MLS with the Timbers, Porter has engineered the biggest one-year turnaround in goal-differential in MLS history, +43, while leading the team to the top of the Western Conference in the regular season and on the cusp of an MLS Cup appearance. Through a series of interviews with a wide range of players, past coaches, and colleagues, The Oregonian's

takes a look at Porter's journey from a hard-nosed midfielder at the University of Indiana to the Rose City. Jerry Yeagley, the lengendary college coach and Porter's mentor at Indiana said of his one-time Hoosier captain:
“He will never stop learning and the great ones don’t. He’s always been very inquisitive.”
Watch the video and read the articles. Then get set for Sunday's MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship second leg against Real Salt Lake (6pm PT, ESPN / 750 The Game).