Caleb Porter, Akron Head Coach
“It is never easy. Our journey really began on December 14th. We were one kick away. The players returning all vowed to get back. It is really a credit to them and how hard they worked.”
“We learned lessons and are battled tested. I think you are going to see their best this weekend as we try to take care of business this weekend."
“My goal is to take that foundation and elevate it even further. My vision was to build a program to a level where we were realistically competing for a national championship each and every year."
"Everything that I did in building the program the philosophies that I put in place had that vision in mind. There are a lot of ingredients that go into building a program that is capable of winning a national championship: there is recruiting, there is getting the culture right, there is style of play, a scheduling philosophy.
"It has been rewarding to see over the last two years us get to the point where we are a realistic contender. Like I said, at the end of last year, as memorable as 2009 was, we talked about it being the standard."
"Our standards are not going to change. We are going to continue to compete to win national championships."
"There is always a progression. And if you look at the teams that have won national championships, it doesn’t come out of the blue. Typically the program is knocking on the door for several years."
"Last year, we certainly knocked on the door. Hopefully, this year we kick the door down and get it done. It has been rewarding to see us get to the point where we are a realistic contender and we are not just this one hit wonder that gets to the championship and makes a run every once in a while.”
“This year has not been easy. And you won’t necessary see our trials reflected in the record. We have only lost one game and a couple ties."
"We have been challenged. We have played from behind in a several games. We have had to grind out results more than we did in 2009. We have made mistakes."
"Part of that is we lost some key players. We lost three pros. We felt very good about the fact that we were returning a good core. So we had some continuity, we had a lot of experience coming into the year."
"We have 8 of 11 of our starters played in the national championship last year. But when you lose three guys, it is going to take some time to evolve into the team you want to be. For us, it took all year."
"The thing about this year that stands out to me is because of those challenges, I think we are a stronger team: we are grounded, and because we have made some mistakes, and because it hasn’t been easy. I think we are probably more prepared coming into the college cup.”
Anthony Ampaipitakwong, senior midfielder
About having the lead at half:
During halftime, coach talks to us. It is just we go into the second half like we go into the first half. We want to start the half strong like every game. And we want to input our style into the game.
Not try to get focused on if we have a lead let’s keep this lead, or if we are down lets push. We just play the style we have been playing all year. We try to play the dominant style of soccer that coach has implemented into all of us. That is the mindset we go into every half.
Porter on the form of the two teams following their first meeting:
“I know we are better. We have had some wins. We have won seven in a row. We had a loss. That is something that needed to happen. We had gone 40 games without truly losing. That gives you a lot of confidence. That gives you a lot of belief. But I think when you start to win that much, you maybe slip. You start to lose your edge and start to feel bulletproof. In this sport, you got to show up. And you got to perform. No matter who you are playing against. If you don’t do that, you have a chance to lose. I think looking back, that is the best thing that happened.”