The U.S. men won't be playing in this summer's Olympic Games, but that's OK because "you can't measure success always on results," says the coach.Caleb Porter sounds like a man who is already out of a job.
Following the United States' U-23 team's shocking exit at the Olympic qualifying tournament, the coach could barely hold back tears as he spoke as if he had already been canned by the national team. It now seems like a matter of time before it becomes official, and rightfully so.
"I'm sad that I'm not going to get a chance to be in the trenches with those guys anymore," Porter said. "I'm proud of those guys and I know they're going to do great things in the future. But there's nothing to be ashamed of."
Porter is proud of a 1-1-1 record at the qualifiers, including a 2-0 loss to Canada? On Monday, he was given a chance to lock down a No. 1 seed with a win over El Salvador, but the teams played to a 3-3 draw. Porter blew a chance to advance in a four-team group on home turf.
It was said Porter had prepared his players well leading into the tournament. Brek Shea wrote on his Goal.com blog that the U.S. was "very focused tactically" following a 6-0 win over Cuba in its opening game. Terrance Boyd said the U.S. had "the most quality in CONCACAF."
But it's not how you start. It's how you finish.
Porter must not be familiar with that saying. He said the worst part of getting bumped out of the tournament was the fact that the players, coaches and staff "don't have any more time together." All U.S. soccer fans should disagree with his statements.
The U.S. entered the Olympic qualifiers as a favorite alongside Mexico to win it all, and now that the team is eliminated someone needs to be held accountable. That someone is named Caleb Porter. He was outcoached against Canada and El Salvador, two nations with less resources than the United States.
Instead of taking the full blame, the former University of Akron coach spoke like a man who accepted defeat as he addressed the media on Monday.
"You can't measure success always on results," Porter said. "You sometimes have to prioritize winning less to play a certain way."
Why is soccer viewed differently in the United States? If fans around the country want soccer to become a mainstream sport, the U.S. Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer and everyone associated with any form of soccer in the U.S. must treat it as a mainstream sport.
A good start would be letting a man like Porter go for not only losing but making loser comments. At least Porter can take with him the memories of the good times he had with his players over a failed training camp and tournament.
"In my opinion they deserved better," Porter said of his players.
No, Mr. Porter. American soccer fans deserve better.