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by mrasor on December 12, 2010

in Men's Soccer

Men's soccer

Akron won its first national championship

Concluding the third year of dominance of the soccer world, the Zips climbed the last rung of the ladder and earned the university's first team national championship. It was a team that brought the community together and deserves to celebrate its great feat.

Now it's time to be realistic. Akron won the title in a game, and an NCAA Tournament, in which the team received some serious luck.

The Zips executed two improbable foot saves in the last minute — one by David Meves, and the other by Chad Barson, who just happened to be positioned between Louisville's striker and the back of the net and whose foot just happened to deflect a point-blank goal opportunity.

The game's lone goal was off a scramble following a corner kick. The ball found Scott Caldwell, who had the national championship goal fed to him on a platter. Unlike Louisville's striker, Caldwell deposited the ball into the net.

Louisville missed out on two sure-fire opportunities in the first half. One ball bounced off the post. On the other, the refs missed a hand-ball call in the box.

But Akron is the last team that needs to apologize for its good fortune. This team, this program, and these fans deserve it. For the past three years, Akron has been the undisputed best team in the nation, only to be screwed by NCAA or lose on penalty kicks.

And this is also a victory for a principled coach. Unlike Caleb Porter, Ken Lolla left the University of Akron, his players and its fans for more money. Porter turned down an offer to be a professional head coach to stay at Akron. He was rewarded by a victory over a predecessor who took his talents to Louisville.

It might take a while for this to sink in. The first step of that for me was when my dad (mostly ignorant on college sports, but an Akron grad) asked: "So wait. Louisville is Division One?" Me: "Yes." Dad: "So all the other teams like Ohio State and UCLA are gone?"

It is an illustration of what this could mean to our alumni if properly publicized. Why support a bigger university when, if receiving adequate support, YOUR alma mater can do great things? Hats off to the AK-Rowdies who traveled to Santa Barbara, Calif., on what much be, in many cases, meager budgets.

Fans should treasure tonight because, even if Porter stays for another 10 years and even if the team retains its dominance, winning a national championship in soccer must be one of the most luck-driven accomplishments in college sports. Once you get to the last few rounds, playing an error-free game takes a higher priority. It's that rare moment where a defender loses focus that a forward can sneak past and change the history of his soccer program.

Cherish this because it could have been different.

Cherish this because it HAS BEEN different in the past. Do you remember picking your jaw off the floor when Blair Gavin's penalty kick sailed over the net a year ago? Or when the NCAA stole Akron's home-pitch advantage, providing Northwestern a big advantage?

Cherish this because it is a great accomplishment for Porter, a fantastic leader with off-the-charts character, charisma and perseverance.

In the next few days, a lot of University of Akron alumni will be chatting about this great achievement over the water cooler. If you are one of those casual fans, take this opportunity to step to the next level. Bookmark this blog, and (the unofficial message boards), and (the official university site) to keep up on the daily news.

Fans support is one area where the University of Akron lacks. With the hundreds of thousands of local alumni, it doesn't have to be that way.

Stay tuned for more news from Marla Ridenour in Santa Barbara and Michael Beaven at the celebration downtown.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon W December 12, 2010 at 6:39 pm

This Zips team is filled with amazingly gifted athletes. Not only are they skilled, but they are men of integrity and perseverance!! They fought hard to win the National Championship and they deserve it!


Luke A. December 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm



J Riley December 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Outstanding win for an outstanding team and coach! Our hats are off to the players, coach and fans of Akron Zips Soccer – well deserved from those who never gave up on a dream. And to the column writer, you are right on! U of A alumni, current staff/students, the City and residents of Akron… be proud. You have a number one championship team and title. Celebrate ~


Z-Z December 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Z-Z-Zips ! Akron # 1 !


Matt T December 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I am so proud of these young men. They can only be described as a team of destiny. They have brought this city together. Kudos to coach Porter, who has made the magic a reality!! I still am in shock!!! Way to go Akron!!!


BG December 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Absolutely. Luck, good and bad, plays a big part of things.

I'm not a soccer expert, but it looked to me like Akron pretty much played an error-free game. Louisville looked solid as well.

The game could have gone either way, but the soccer gods were smiling on UA.

Coach Porter has to be the best coach in college soccer. We are so fortunate to have him.


Scott K December 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Congratulations to the squad for reaching the pinnacle, after years of being in the hunt. This is so very well deserved.

"…It is an illustration of what this could mean to our alumni if properly publicized."

Yeah, why are there no mentions on the Facebook pages, or a front page flip to a Championship banner? This could have been prepped ahead of time and fired out in a moment. Instead, nothing. Probably not until Monday when the assistant PR flack shows up for work.
But, you'd know the moment the (american) football team wins a title, for sure. With two- pages-a-day analysis in the papers, not a blog post on the eve of the big game.
I know soccer is all but forgotten, but this should be lauded. It's big everywhere else in the world, and would go a long way towards marketing the school outside the USA (you know, where most of Akron's teaching assistants come from).


Tom December 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

"I know soccer is all but forgotten"

Actually, "Zips" is trending on Twitter as we speak. Soccer is far from forgotten.


akzipper December 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Proud to be a Zip today! Go Zips and Congrats


Sami December 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm

The Zips are the national champions… I can't say this enough!
Unfortunately, Fred and his gang don't know what that means.
Back to the game, I have to disagree with Mike about a couple of things. The Zips did get lucky in the last minute when Louisville missed twice. However, they were not that lucky and fortunate in the first half.
1 – the ball that hit the post was not a shot and was awkwardly deflected by a Louisville player and an Akron defender was completely covering the post. It is not like the ball was going in if it wasn't for the post.

2 – a hand-ball PK is called in soccer in one of two cases:
a- if the hand is between the ball and the goal (the hand stopping the balls motion towards the goal)
b – if the hand is moving toward the ball.

In our case, the ref made the right no-call because the ball wasn't going towards the goal, it was bouncing away from it and the player did not intentionally touch the ball, it was the ball that hit his arm. Absolutely a good no call.


John December 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Congrats to the players and university for getting some much due attention and good publicity.
However, that was the most porely written article I have ever read. If you are going to attempt to write about something you might want to look up the subject first. Its called SOCCER and its a great game.


Peter from Parma December 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

dan gilbert was right !!!


Laura December 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Rock on Socceroos! I have been a fan since you were but a club in the late '70's.


BG December 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Hey Laura. Your memory may be playing tricks on you. I think that Akron has been playing NCAA level soccer since at least the 60s. Am I wrong?

But I "second" your sentiments completely. What an accomplishment.


Patty Cross December 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Congratulations go out to the University of Akron Zips! It's about time we see something positive about our city!!!


Jim December 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

This is just wonderful for Akron University and the whole town. Celebrate this great accomplishment in grand style. Do everything necessary to keep Caleb Porter the coach . Pay the man to keep him there. He's young and gifted as a coach and recuiter which means the big boys will be beating down his door for him to go to their schools.


Phil December 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm

This is just wonderful for The University of Akron and the whole town, region and state. Celebrate this great accomplishment in grand style. Do everything necessary to keep Caleb Porter the coach . Pay the man to keep him there. He's young and gifted as a coach and recuiter which means the big boys will be beating down his door for him to go to their schools.

And always refer to the school by its propper name, The University of Akron and not "Akron U".


Ed December 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Phil, you need to forgive Jim . He pulls this same passive aggressive crap on The man truly has some emotional/anger issues. He's a twisted little "button pusher" as we say in the psych field. He's a compulsive victim of an oppositional personality disorder. The more sane peole correct his intentional and hostile use of the term, "Akron U.", the more he takes every opportunity to use it…pathetic!


Kay December 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Luck had nothing to do with the Meves' foot save. Keepers practice that. It also was not luck to have the defender on the goal line when the keeper is out. That is practiced, too. There was very little luck, and a whole lot of preparation and practice and a deeply held belief in team over individuals. Did you notice that we were the most fit. No need for our top players to rest, they were fit, and played the same 90 minutes that is expected in the rest of the soccer world.

Congratulations to the Akron Zip Men's Soccer Team. They deserve it.


GoZips88 December 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I heard a caller on the radio say the following this morning: "Luck is the residue of design." The host responded with a saying of his own: "Chance savors the prepared mind."

As Mike said in his article and as SO many others have observed and pointed out – Caleb Porter is a gem of a coach and person. We are unbelievably fortunate to have him and his family here at Akron. He has his guys believing from Day One that nothing short of a national championship is acceptable and that, if they work hard and play as one, it is absolutely achievable.

Thank you Caleb and the coaches. Thank you to all of the players. What a truly special night for all of us …



LimeyZIP December 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Congrats to an excellent performance by what was clear to be the best soccer team in the country. In contrast to the individual who wrote this article says, it was not luck that won this championship–it was class. Maybe we should be praising the individuals that came up with the goal-line saves? If it was not for an excellent performance from the Louisville goal-keeper this game would have been a blow-out.
Fantastic ending to yet another brilliant season…let's do it again next year!!


tbone December 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm



michelle December 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm



TOM December 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Terrific !!!!!!!! From a proud alum.


InterFX December 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Akron won its first national championship…

Let's see if Akron, NE Ohio media treats the first national championship in the history of the University appropriately… Watch to see if it makes the feature story on the front of the ABJ on Monday… (Hope it does)

Go Zips! You did it!


Ed December 12, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Congratulation Zips !!!

You have done your University proud!!!

You have put Akron on the map year after year!!

Keep up the good work!!!

Lebron who??


Mary December 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Congratulations Coach Porter and Zip Soccer Players for bringing a National Championship to Northeast Ohio.


Adam Storfer December 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Congratulations to the team! Congratulations to the coaches and staff! Congratulations to us fans! Congratulations to us alumni. Congratulations to the current students!

Congratulations to Dr. Proenza! I apologize for possibly (probably) butchering your name. What an amazing year for the University of Akron! Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President of the United States Joe Biden were but two of our visitors this year. And the way "The Decision" made the JAR the center of the sports universe, that was actually quite cool, ha! Anyway, the administration and faculty set this up, invested in the University in a HUGE way, new stadiums, etc. Anyway, Congrats To Everyone!


Drew D December 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

As a Zip grad currently residing in the Florida Keys, it was a thrill being able to watch the Zippies play on National TV Friday and Sunday. And a much greater thrill watching them win it all!!!

I've had the pleasure of watching Akron basketball and soccer games on National TV all the way down here the past few years. That says a lot about a sports program when you play in big games that are broadcast for the entire country to see.

Awesome win today. AKRON and NORTHEAST OHIO DESERVE IT!!!

Go Zips!


AZipsFan December 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

The University of Akron has had a soccer team since 1951. Reading Mike's article one would think we had no business being in the championship game and that we were outplayed. The Zips controlled the majority of the game. The final 1:30 was difficult to watch, but I doubt anyone on the team is going to apologize for this win.


Adam December 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Congratulations to my Alma Mater, good day to be a U of A alum . I gotta disagree with Rasor, clearly the game of soccer is not luck, this game came down to strategy and mental toughness. Akron played error free. Players defending the goal when the goalie leaves is not luck or unusual it happens every week around the world in soccer.

I say it's time for people to hop on board this soccer train if you care anything about University of Akron because it's never gonna happen in football or basketball or baseball. Soccer is Akron's best mainstream sport and will continue to be our claim to fame.

Also pleaaaaassssseeee make sure Dr. luis you do whatever you have to do to keep Caleb Porter at Akron. This guy is on the cusp of building an absolute dynasty. Pay whatever it takes (the university has the money) if needed pull some assistants from football, basketball and baseball and use their salaries. Always fund your best sport. Again this will be our only claim to fame in sports so keep it going

Thanks Coach Porter and congratulations to the players and my University of the National Championship. Great day for all of Zips Nation and NE Ohio


TPSoccer guy December 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

This was so cool. Having watched this team in person and on the internet last weekend in the snow and then this weekend on national TV, what can I say but SWEEEEEEEEEET. Proud of this team. Proud of this coach. Proud of this university. PROUD TO BE FROM AKRON, OHIO!!


James T December 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Hate to say it, but eventually Caleb Porter will have to move on to greener pastures. He's not only the best soccer mind at the university level, but probably at any level of U.S. Soccer. At some point he should move on to an MLS club, and then, on to guiding the USMNT at the World Cup in Russia in 2018…but he and we will never forget where it all started, and will cherish this championship always.
And we won't be sad or angry when he leaves, because, unlike other lying, traitorous, back-stabbing Akronites, he actually delivered on HIS promise – and didn't quit.


HEYYY OOOOOO December 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Forget Ohio State and the Browns!

Go Akron Soccer!! Support your hometown! We're building a dynasty here, people!

Wake up!


kerk December 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Well said Sami and AZipsFan. I am not sure the writer of this blog understands the game….this article is a misrepresentation of what happened. As an ex Akron player and avid soccer fan I watched Akron dominate the game having ball possession at least 60% to 40% and was clearly the superior team. The two chances that Louisville had at the end were the result of bad bounces mainly as opposed to structured play. Akron was the best team in the country during the entire season and rightfully won the NCAA championship.


matt December 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Akron 1, LeBron 0


Gus December 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I watched the game and I saw the "golazo" ten minutes before the end of the match. It was absolutely awesome. And then the last minute, desperate attack by Louisville, and the defense and goalie catching one shot after another was unbelievable. GO ZIPS guys, GO ZIPS!!!


BigHappy December 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

It's refreshing to see a coach who remained loyal to his school, players who worked their butts off, fans who supported this program all be rewarded for their efforts. It's even nicer when it happens to my University of Akron! :) Congrats to all, what an accomplishment!!


UAfootball December 12, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Awesome win!!!

Any news on when the plane is landing for an airport reception? I think that would be awesome for the team (and ahead of any formal celebrations).


dubfun December 13, 2010 at 12:44 am

You say they received some serious luck? Sorry, but when you put together a program like Akron has, there is no luck involved. Luck did not get them to the national championship, and luck didn't put the defenders in the right place at the right time to deflect those last minute shots. Playing soccer the way it should be played, serious talent, great coaching and hard work won this championship. Louisville played well and had their chances but didn't capitalize on them. Akron did. There is an old saying that goes: "I believe in luck, and the harder I work, the luckier I become". We should have nothing but praise for these athletes and we should not have to qualify their accomplishments by incorrectly using a word such as luck. So give credit where credit is due. Luck? I hardly think so. GO ZIPS!!


Mike December 13, 2010 at 3:44 am

Good work akron…

Check out for my Zips coverage!


Mike December 13, 2010 at 3:45 am



Doug Snyder December 13, 2010 at 6:39 am

Congrats to the Zips soccer team and all who help make it happen. Especial thanks to coach Porter. You stayed and gave you program a national championship.

There will be lots of speculation on coach Porter’s status as he will be targeted by many universities and MLS teams. But I believe that he was honest last year when he said he had no interest in any other university of MLS team. Really…other than his alma mater Indiana…what program offers more?? And he could have had Indiana last year and passed. I believe he will stay. I think the job he really wants is the US National team coach. That position should be open after the next World Cup in 2014 (or sooner). So…lets enjoy the next 3 years!!! 3 more championships for the Zips before he leaves would make him a legend at UA and college soccer. And a great foundation to assume the top job in US soccer.


Doug Snyder December 13, 2010 at 7:32 am

"But Porter had been recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Indiana University, and he found a way to sell an obscure school in Northeast Ohio. "

What moron hired a recruiting coordinator with no prior HC experience?? Wait till the boys over at ZNO find out about this. They will crucify him!!! (don't tell them that Golden is the new HC at UM after going 1-11 in his first year as a HC at Temple)

Congrats again coach Porter and all the Zips players. Even if you had lost….you have represented the UofA well and as an alumni….you have my appreciation. I hope you all go on to have great careers and remember fondly your time at Akron.


Flash 1982 December 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

Congratulations Zips! You did the MAC proud!


Dave0630 December 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

Congrats to Coach Porter and all the student-athletes that represented our university so well. You couldn't have made me more proud to be an Akron Zip alum and faculty member!


Mike December 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm

i'm putting together all of the photos and videos from the championship if anyone is interested:


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