It is getting close to decision time for Caleb Porter. The U.S. Under-23 head coach has the next couple of weeks to choose the roster for Olympic qualifying later this month.
Houston Dynamo right back Kofi Sarkodie is hoping the work he has done in the past two months will earn him a place in Porter’s plans. Sarkodie finished the last training camp on a high note, playing 90 minutes in Wednesday's nights 2-0 win over Mexico's U-23s.
With his last audition over, the talented defender is banking on the work he has done in camp to make his case for inclusion.
“All I can do is go out and perform,” Sarkodie told MLSsoccer.com. “Selections and all that are up to the coaching staff. They’re looking for things that fit what they’re looking for and all you can do as a player is do what you can do and hope you’re selected.”
The second-year pro out of the University of Akron, where he played under Porter, has been a consistent presence with the U-23s since last summer. And while there is a familiarity there, it has been more learning experience than college reunion.
“It’s always a great opportunity to work with [Porter], but he’s the coach and I’m the player and we have jobs to do,” Sarkodie said about working under his former head coach. “He’s a great coach and he’s been trying to implement a possession game with a lot of pressure and I’m trying to do as much as I can. He does his job well to get us prepared for the match and it’s my job to go out and perform.
“One of the biggest things I’ve taken from being with the 23s is being able to adapt. That, and as a pro handling different roles. Some teams you need to sit back more and some you need to go forward more. You have to understand those responsibilities and adapt.”
With camp breaking, Sarkodie is heading to Orlando to pick up where he left off with the Dynamo: fighting for playing time. While he faces stiff challenges with incumbent Andre Hainault manning the right back position, Sarkodie is not thinking about how that will play into his Olympic future.
“As long as I keep playing and doing my best, when it comes time, hopefully I can get minutes,” Sarkodie said. “A lot of things happen and change and all I can do is making sure as a player I perform and stay sharp.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com