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Menace Memories: Daryl Brazeau

Daryl with wife Missy; They have four boys: Daryl's stepson Conner (17) and sons Beau (12), Brock (10) and Crew (8).

 

Our 25th season is coming up, so we’re sharing a series of “Where Are They Now?” stories.

We thought it would be fitting for the first “Menace Memories” installment to feature Kevin Graving, who scored the first goal in franchise history. Next up: another old-timer whose Menace career was just getting started as Graving’s was wrapping up.

Plans are in the works for an alumni event at our 2018 season finale – Saturday, July 14 at Valley Stadium.

 

From 1999 to 2004, Daryl Brazeau was a fixture in the Menace’s lineup.

The Chicagoland native built a reputation as a fearless and relentless defender during the franchise’s early rise as a Premier Development League power.

Highlights from Brazeau’s Menace days included the team’s fourth-place finish in 2001 – when Des Moines hosted the PDL Final Four – and an undefeated regular season (15-0-3) a year later.

Brazeau, a 2002 Ohio State grad who earned all-Big Ten status for the Buckeyes, has stuck around Des Moines, building his dual careers – in the office and on the sidelines of the youth soccer fields.

 

MENACE SOCCER: Daryl, thanks for finding the time to help us out. What brought you to the Menace for your first season in Des Moines?

DARYL BRAZEAU: I actually started my college career at Drake so I was already in Des Moines. I really struggled my freshman year at Drake keeping up my grades so I had to stick around and take summer classes. Seth Modersohn, a Menace legend and Drake senior at that time, invited me to come out to Menace training so I did.

Who knew that would lead to a seven-year stint with the Menace? As I look back I am very fortunate to have been surrounded by some great teammates and coaches, and an owner who have helped shape who I am today.  

 

MS: You had quite a run with the Menace. What kept you coming back for all of those seasons?

DB: My teammates and the organization. In the early days you didn’t have the turnover of players every year like you do now. You always had a core group of guys that you knew would be back. I loved playing with those guys so I didn’t see any reason to leave, especially knowing the Menace was the best-run PDL team. There is no other team in the PDL that supports its players like the Menace.

 

A page from a 2003 Menace game-day program.

 

MS: What are your favorite memories from those early days?

DB: In 1999 when I was officially on the roster and got issued the equipment – bag, warm-ups, training gear, and so on – I remember wearing that training jacket everywhere I went for like two weeks straight. I was so proud to be a part of the Menace organization.

Back in the day the club would bring in professional reserve teams from Mexico, Italy to play in exhibition games. One year they even brought in the Bermuda national youth team. I remember that one pretty vividly because during that game I went up for a header and smacked heads with a player for the other team. The collision created a nice cut right above my eye. Laurie Calloway the coach at the time who is extremely competitive, said ‘You aren’t being subbed,’ and instead asked the Bermuda team doctor to stitch me up right on the sidelines. So four stitches later, I jump back on the field and play.

The best memories I have would be looking in the stands and seeing my parents. They would drive over from Chicago for the weekend to watch me play.  My mom passed away a couple of years ago, but I still see her standing at the Hoover (High School) entrance gate after the game with a big smile on her face.

 

MS: Thanks for sharing these awesome stories! Will you please catch fans up on what you’ve been up to since your last games with the Menace?

DB: After I was done playing, Kyle Krause, the owner of the Menace, gave me an opportunity to join the other company he runs, Kum & Go. I have been working there for 16 years now. I’ve held multiple roles during that time but currently I am the Team Lead for our internal IT (Information Technology) service-desk team. Kyle does an amazing job supporting his players, much of it goes unseen and unheard of.

 

MS: You’ve also had quite the coaching career. How did you get your start in coaching, and what have been some of the highlights in this realm of your life?

DB: I started coaching in 2003 with the Menace Academy. At that time the club was looking for someone to help coach some of their younger girls teams. I didn’t really want to coach especially girls, but Neathan Gibson (a player-coach with the 2002 Menace who returned to coach the Menace from 2010 to 2012), a good friend, said it could be a good opportunity for me after I am done playing.

I respected Neathan, so I took the gig. Fifteen years later, I am still coaching girls soccer. For the last 12 years I have been coaching at Iowa Rush Soccer Club. During that time I have been fortunate to coach some fantastic players and teams. In total we have won 14 state titles and have had over 115 girls commit to play college soccer.   

 

MS: Thanks, Daryl, and keep up the great work!

 

 

Story posted Wednesday, April 18



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