Zips soccer fans had the chance Wednesday night to say thank you to outgoing coach Caleb Porter for seven outstanding seasons at the helm of the men's soccer team.
Coach Porter received a fond farewell from the public and University of Akron students and fans as he heads to the MLS ranks to coach the Portland Timbers.
UA Student Matt Boley says he's appreciative of Coach Porter and what he's done for the program, making it a respected national power.
Jacob McMichael says Porter put the University of Akron on the map.
"I just think it's fantastic, he really showcased the school as well as it's athletic program," McMichael said.
Rob Haber says Porter brought national recognition to not only the men's soccer team, but also to the University as a whole.
"I think it's important that the men's soccer team keeps their style of play with the new coach Jared Embick going forward," he said.
"To be able to play possession soccer and make it look pretty and still succeed with that will not only bring recognition to the University, but the sport in general.
The men's soccer team captured their first national championship in any sport in 2010.
Porter said his reward from that moment was seeing the joy of his players after they won the championship, knowing their hard work and dedication paid off.
"That's why I do what I do," Porter said. "To see the joy on their faces is more rewarding than anything I as an individual could accomplish."
Many former players showed up to the fifth floor of Infocision Stadium-Summa Field to celebrate their former coach's career and to wish him well.
Former Zips soccer player CJ Kaufman said he was there to thank Coach Porter for all the memories he shared on the pitch.
"Caleb brought something that made what we had here at Akron even better, he challenged us everyday to be better as players and as people," he said.
Kaufman, who now lives in Tucson Arizona, says that he learned some valuable lessons from his coach that extend way beyond the soccer field.
"Now that I'm starting my career, the life skills and things he taught me I will take with me for the rest of my life."
UA grad Kofi Sarkodie, a member of the 2010 national championship team, said that he was proud to see a lot of his former teammates and others support Porter not only Wednesday night, but over the course of the seven years he was there.
"We're a family here at Akron, it says a lot about how close we are and hopefully that will continue as we move forward."
Sarkodie now plays professionally for the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer.
Porter will become the head coach of the Timbers later this month.
The coach says he was humbled by the outpouring of support shown by the hundreds of fans, students, alums, and former players.
"I think it says a lot about this community and the type of people that live here and why my wife and I stayed here for so long," Porter said.