In a statement released this morning the Portland Timbers made it official: Caleb Porter has moved on.
As FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio first reported last night, the Timbers’ coach of the last five seasons has reached an agreement with the side to step away, leaving the Timbers without a head coach as they head into the 2017-2018 offseason.
The club’s statement does not detail Porter’s reason for leaving or the Timbers’ new coaching search, only saying that the “identification process” is underway.
The news came as a shock to Timbers fans after an injury-hit but still successful 2017 season saw the Timbers finish on top of the Western Conference before falling in the Western Conference semifinals to the Houston Dynamo.
After joining the team in 2013, Porter led the Timbers two three playoff appearances, two first place finishes in the Western Conference, and an MLS Cup. Porter leaves the Timbers with a 68-50-52 in his time with the club.
The Timbers’ press release:
CALEB PORTER MOVES ON FROM POSITION AS HEAD COACH OF PORTLAND TIMBERS
Porter departs club after successful five-year tenure, bringing Timbers their first MLS Cup in 2015 as one of the most accomplished head coaches in MLS over the last five seasons
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that Caleb Porter is moving on from his position as head coach of the club. Porter, who led the Timbers to their first MLS Cup title in 2015 after assuming the head-coaching duties with the club beginning with the 2013 season, compiled a 68-50-52 record and led the Timbers to three appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs during his five-year tenure in Portland.
"During Caleb’s five seasons with our club, we reached new heights and accomplished great things together. His commitment, passion and talent were essential in bringing many on-field successes to our supporters, our club and our city, most notably our first MLS Cup. More than that, he has been a friend whom I have enjoyed working with,” said Merritt Paulson, owner of the Timbers. “I respect Caleb’s decision to seek his next challenge. He leaves Portland with a lasting legacy valued by everyone associated with the club, and I wish him nothing but success in the future. With our next on-field leader, we look forward to building on the Timbers’ winning tradition and to setting the course for even greater achievements in the seasons ahead. Caleb leaves a strong club foundation and we are well-positioned to manage this departure.”
Under Porter, the Timbers won one MLS Cup, one Western Conference Championship (2015) and one Cascadia Cup (2017), while twice finishing atop the Western Conference table at season’s end as the conference’s No. 1 seed (2013, 2017) and twice qualifying for CONCACAF Champions League (2014-15, 2016-17).
“I would like to begin by giving special thanks to my owner and friend Merritt Paulson for providing me with the opportunity to lead the Portland Timbers these past five seasons,” said Porter. “Also, a big thanks to Hank and Wendy Paulson, Heather Paulson and Gavin Wilkinson for the incredible support they have shown me, and for their tireless efforts on behalf of the Timbers. Everyone has made me and my family feel a part of the Timbers family from day one, and words truly can't express my gratitude for what this has meant to me.
“My goal in taking the Timbers job was to lead the club to new heights and to win things that had never been done by the organization,” Porter continued. “Looking back and reflecting on my time with the Timbers, I am very proud of the results we all achieved and I know that joining the club in 2013 was one of the best decisions of my life. I also am confident that the Timbers are poised for future success given the tremendous leadership of Merritt Paulson, Gavin Wilkinson and Mike Golub and the first-class level in which the club operates, both on- and off-the-pitch.
“I will never forget and cannot ever repay the fans, especially the Timbers Army, for their tremendous passion and unwavering support of myself, the players and the club. The supporters of the Portland Timbers are the lifeblood and soul behind what makes this club such a special place and bringing an MLS Cup trophy to Portland will be a memory I always will cherish, since you deserved it more than anyone!
“To the players, coaching staff and support staff it truly has been a remarkable five seasons and I am so thankful and proud for all that we have accomplished together. I will miss the day to day being in the trenches with you but the relationships and memories we’ve shared will last forever.
“Lastly, my wife, Andrea, and I have loved our time in this wonderful community and our family will miss the city of Portland immensely,” Porter concluded. “I’m emotional thinking about leaving but also look forward to what’s ahead in the next chapter of my career and our lives.”
Porter, who was named the 2013 MLS Coach of the Year following his first season in the league, helped guide the MLS All-Star Team to a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich at Providence Park in 2014. Porter, 42, also was a two-time recipient of the Oregon Sports Awards’ Slats Gill Award for Sportsperson of the Year (2013, 2015).
“Caleb departs with my utmost respect and admiration – and that of the entire club – for his tireless dedication and commitment over his five years, and he will forever be the head coach that brought Portland its first MLS Cup and Western Conference Championship,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “We are sincerely thankful and indebted to Caleb for his immense contributions and wish him and his family all the best as he moves on.”
The identification process for Porter’s successor is currently underway.
The Timbers finished the 2017 regular season atop the Western Conference for the second time in five seasons with a record of 15-11-8 (53pts) in Porter’s final season with the club.