Olympic team coach may sound like a pretty good job, but for a young Caleb Porter the assignment remains a risky proposition. The up-and-coming Akron University skipper has, in just a few short years, developed a reputation as one of America's top tacticians. But to reap Olympic success, he'll first need to wager all that on a qualifying tournament in which one bad match could cost the team a trip to London, and the coach his high-flyer status.
It's not a job for the weak of heart, but then Porter has never been accused of shying away from a challenge. The former Indiana midfielder was chosen for the U.S. job because he's been known to get the most out of young players and has demonstrated tactical wherewithal uncommon amongst the kick-and-run melee that often defines college soccer.
Instead, Porter's teams play with a technical refinement that only recently has come in vogue in the U.S. But while the 37-year-old has developed his coaching techniques far from the limelight of international soccer, the young American shares Jurgen Klinsmann's vision of an attractively styled, ball-possessing team that takes the game to opponents.
"I think that's Jurgen's vision," Porter said shortly after accepting the Olympic team job late last year. "Philosophically, we are all on the same page. That's one of the great things [Klinsmann] wants his vision to trickle down, and I think that it's very important to have it that way."