Princeton soccer’s own senior forward Cameron Porter has had incredible success both in his Princeton and professional careers and is The Daily Princetonian’s 2015 Male Athlete of the Year.
After finishing the season leading the NCAA in goals and points per game, Porterreceived Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and ECAC Offensive Player of the Year honors before he was drafted in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Montreal Impact in January.
“You always want to leave a mark in your senior year, like any other person, and make sure you leave the program in a better state than when you came into it," Porter said. "I think going into the year that was more the goal than anything, and to just have all that come as a byproduct of it is awesome.”
“He’s got a lot of qualities that make him valuable,” head coach Jim Barlow said. “His speed and strength and athleticism certainly help but he’s also very comfortable on the ball. His instincts are to go to the goal and to take people on and get shots off. He just brings so much energy to the field and so much competitiveness too. He’s got so many qualities that made him a really special player for us.”
“It’sso great to see him rewarded because he deserves it and he had such an incredible year, both on the field and off the field,” Barlow said.Barlow brought up Porter’s academic successes as well. “It’s great to see someone so talented on the athletics field be equally successful in the classroom.”
In the fall, Porter helped the Tigers clinch a share of the Ivy League title, which they split with Dartmouth after winning their final game of the season against Yale, butunfortunately itwasn’t enough for the Tigers to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament. Porter finished the season with 15 goals, 34 points and 79 shots on the season.
“This year Cam was just a dominant player in our league. He has the ability to create so many chances and get up and score goals, even during stretches of games where we weren’t necessarily on top of the other team or dominating the game,” Barlow said. “He was a threat in so many ways, he could get behind defenses with his speed, he could hold guys off with his athleticism and he could take people on, on the dribble. He was just so strong and hard to knock off the ball, [and] in the box it led to a lot of teams fouling him.”
But Princeton’s star player didn’t just play well in the NCAA. Porteralso found his place on the larger stage, playing for the Impact.
“It’s been an interesting transition from a state of experience where you’ve been there for four years to one where you’re the new guy, you’re the rookie, and you have to learn how to play again, just at this higher level. And I think I was prepared well for that by the coaching staff at Princeton,” Porter said. “The biggest difference is that you’re playing against guys who are more talented and think faster on the soccer field than before. But I think you get used to that day-to-day in practices when you’re playing with so many experienced veterans who are there not only to improve, but also to help you along the way.”
Porter showed hisability to playat professional level right off the bat, making his Major League debut with a bang and scoring the game-winning shot against Pachuca that sent his team into the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals in early March.
“It’s amazing to even have the opportunity to play on the professional level,” Porter said. “Once I got to that level, just being in the game, I thought that was cool, and then to score the goal in front of almost 40,000 fans, its just another level of excitement that you don’t expect in your first couple weeks of playing professional soccer.”
Barlow said,“I think it would have been hard for anyone to predict the success he had as a professional right away. We all were hopeful that he had the tools to be able to succeed at the next level but It’s hard to know if his special qualities are going to be special enough at the next level until he actually steps in and tries to prove himself.”
After Porter’s goal against Pachuca, with hard work Porter found himself in thestarting lineup, but in a stroke of bad luck, Porter tore his anterior cruciate ligament in just his fifth professional game, leaving him sidelined until the start of next season. And we at the 'Prince' can’t wait until this rising stargets back on the field and continues to play the game as beautifully as we have come to expect from him.
“My recent successes, I would attribute to living by the motto, 'Work hard, have fun,' ” Porter said, “as long as you’re doing that I’m pretty sure you’re going to either be successful or be happy with what you’re doing, so that was the idea going into this whole experience, do those two things, and I’m sure the results will be good.”