The Des Moines Menace is the 2009 Organization of the Year for the 68-team Premier Development League. The United Soccer Leagues made the announcement on Friday night at the USL Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner in Tampa, Fla.
USL president Tim Holt presented the award, crediting the work of Menace owner Kyle Krause and Menace general manager Todd Meiners. Lee Cohen, the PDL’s director of operations, said the annual honor is based on a ranking system whose criteria include the marketing, management, coaching, operations, community involvement and attendance of the organizations, as well as the teams’ on-field performance.
"The Menace has a 16-year tradition of success, and to be awarded as the top team in a league of 68 teams is a true testament of our hard work and dedication," Krause said. "A team championship doesn't happen simply because we score goals; it happens because all involved in the club work hard, exceeding expectations."
In 2009, the Menace won the PDL’s Heartland Division regular-season and postseason championships. Des Moines finished the season 11-1-4, advanced to the league’s Elite Eight and averaged a league-best 3,719 fans per home contest. The team is undefeated in 21 of its last 22 regular-season matches.
“The Menace organization has so much to be proud of,” said Meiners, who accepted the award at Friday’s ceremony. “We have fantastic ownership and staff, and have the best fans in the PDL. Without everyone’s support we wouldn’t be the organization that we are. This award goes to everyone involved with the Menace, and I am excited for many more seasons ahead.”
Des Moines, which won the PDL title in 2005, has qualified for the playoffs 10 times and made four appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Menace has accumulated a record of 155-94-19 during this span (1994-present). This is the first time the organization won the honor, though the team has twice earned the league’s marketing award (2000 and 2006).
The Menace has led the league in attendance nine of the last 10 seasons.
"A huge thank you to Menace fans for their support over the years,” Krause said. “They deserve a tremendous amount of credit for making the Menace a household name throughout the soccer community."
Krause and Meiners announced on Wednesday (Nov. 18) that Laurie Calloway is back as the team’s head coach and the Menace Academy’s Director of Coaching. Calloway guided Des Moines to a 26-7-5 mark in 2001-02 and has won more than 200 games in 17 seasons as a head coach.
On Friday, the USL inducted three members into the league’s Hall of Fame: Charleston Battery star striker Paul Conway, Rochester Rhinos standout defender Scott Schweitzer (who played his final two seasons, 2004-05, for Calloway-coached sides) and Richmond Kickers championship-winning coach Leigh Cowlishaw.
After the Hall of Fame presentations, Friday night’s dinner concluded with the recognition of the following honorees:
USL Organizational & Executive Honors
USL First Division
Regular Season Champions: Portland Timbers
Fair Play: Portland Timbers
Marketing: Portland Timbers
Communications: Vancouver Whitecaps
Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Carmen Vanessa Figueroa, Puerto Rico Islanders
Sprinturf Executive of the Year: Merrit Paulson, Portland Timbers
Rookie Franchise of the Year: Austin Aztex
Organization of the Year: Portland Timbers
USL Second Division
Regular Season Champions: Wilmington Hammerheads
Fair Play: Charlotte Eagles
Marketing: Harrisburg City Islanders
Communications: Real Maryland Monarchs
Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Whitney Woods, Wilmington Hammerheads
Sprinturf Executive of the Year: Pete Medd, Crystal Palace Baltimore
Organization of the Year: Richmond Kickers
Premier Development League
Regular Season Champions: Reading Rage
Fair Play: Virginia Legacy
Marketing: Reading Rage
Communications: Seattle Wolves
Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Fabricio Codeceira, Fresno Fuego
Rookie Franchise of the Year: West Texas United
Sprinturf Executive of the Year: David Markley, Austin Aztex U23
Organization of the Year: Des Moines Menace
Regular Season Champions: Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues
Fair Play: West Michigan Firewomen
Marketing: Colorado Force
Communications: Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues
Betsy McAdams Key Grip Award: Win Puffer, Washington Freedom
Sprinturf Executive of the Year: John Pugh, Ottawa Fury
Rookie Franchise of the Year: Quebec City Amiral
Organization of the Year: Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues
USL Progress Award: Chicago Red Eleven
Archie Moylan Award: Betsy McAdams
USL Employee of the Year: Erin McGauley