So this weekend, I watched most of Akron’s two matches en route to the school’s first ever National Championship in any sport. I must admit, I was gob-smacked by what I saw.
With the proviso that I was too young to remember Arena’s teams at UVA, Akron was the single best college team I have ever seen – seriously. One or two of Cirovski’s Maryland teams come sort of close, but none played with the kind of unbelievably good possession-oriented soccer that Akron did this weekend.
Akron’s coach, Caleb Porter is, without question, the most promising young American soccer coach I’ve seen since I began covering soccer.
I’ve taken my shots at the Akron program and Porter before. Quite simply, I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong about any subject at any time. Porter is the real thing, and so is Akron’s program.
Porter should, in theory, have his choice of any MLS gig that comes open in the next couple of years. If he can get a team to play like that in college soccer, where the rules practically beg coaches to have their teams run around like headless chicken, I do not doubt for one minute that he could get pros to do it even better in MLS.
Bruce Arena’s almost 60 years old and not getting any younger. Why do I think we might have just found his future successor in Los Angeles?
For more on Akron’s triumph, read Bill’s summary of Akron and where it’s come as a program.