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Two Menace players selected in 2010 MLS Draft

The Des Moines Menace’s list of alumni in professional soccer grew by two yesterday.

Former Menace players Justin Davis and Jason Griffiths were chosen in the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, held yesterday afternoon in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center.


JD.jpgDavis (pictured left, in background), who played for Des Moines in 2007 and 2008, was drafted by 2009 MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake, with the 32nd and final pick of the second round. Griffiths, a member of the 2009 Menace, was the final selection of the next round, picked up by the New England Revolution in the 48th spot.

They are the 19th and 20th Menace players who have been drafted by MLS teams (below). This is the ninth-straight year that at least one Menace player has gone in the MLS draft.

Though they were never teammates in Des Moines, Davis and Griffiths share a few things in common. Both senior midfielders had their time with the Menace cut short by injuries. Neither of them expected to be drafted yesterday. And, when asked about what they remember most fondly about their time with the Menace, they were quick to mention the friends they made.

“I didn’t think that I was going that early. I didn’t think that it would happen at all, really,” said Davis, who completed his senior season at New Mexico last fall.
Davis’ agent had told him about the teams that expressed an interest in his talents, and Real Salt Lake was on the list. He had the chance to sit down with representatives from the team while participating in the MLS Combine, which ran from last Friday through Tuesday, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“It was definitely an opportunity of a lifetime,” Davis said of the 72-player combine. “It was such a great chance to play at a high level, surrounded by great players. Overall, it worked out pretty well.”

In 11 games with the Menace, Davis collected three goals and an assist. After only three games in 2008, his second tour with the team ended when he opted for hernia surgery. In Davis’ final action for Des Moines, he scored a pair of goals that brought the team back from a 2-0 deficit at Colorado Rapids U23 on May 24. That draw was the start of the team’s current 14-match unbeaten streak on the road.

As a junior and senior at New Mexico, the Litchfield Park, Ariz., native was selected to the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first team and the All-Far West Region squad. A two-time Academic All-MPSF recipient, he finished on New Mexico’s top-ten career charts for points (58, ninth), goals (20, tied for eighth) and assists (18, tied for seventh).

“I’ll always remember the relationships,” Davis said of his time with the Menace. “Lamar Neagle (2009 Seattle Sounders), Danny Cruz (2009 SuperDraft pick, Houston Dynamo) and Nicki Patterson (2009 Harrisburg City Islanders, USL-2) are still good friends. It was a good time.”

Like Davis, Griffiths was surprised to learn that he was drafted.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Griffiths said, explaining that New Griff.jpgEngland had told the Kentucky product they were inviting him to their preseason training. “It felt great to be drafted, and I was happy.”

Griffiths (pictured right) appeared in four early-season matches for the Menace last season, before being sidelined by an ankle injury. He converted on a penalty kick in the season-opener, lifting the Menace to a 2-1 win over Rochester.

The native of Bracknell, England was selected to the Conference-USA first team and All-Midwest Region team as a junior and senior at Kentucky.  In four years with the Wildcats, he played 64 games and recorded 34 points (12 goals, 10 assists). He was a perfect 8-for-8 in regular-season penalty-kick opportunities.

Griffiths is the second Kentucky player drafted by an MLS team, joining former Menace standout Andy Gruenebaum, who was selected by the Columbus Crew with the third pick in the 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft. Gruenebaum was the goalkeeper for the Menace’s 2005 Premier Development League championship team.

Davis and Griffiths will report to their respective teams next month for preseason training, excited for the opportunity to play at a high level and hoping to sign MLS contracts.

Several other former Menace players who completed their college careers last fall are also pro prospects. This list includes goalkeeper Dan Williams (2008 Menace, a teammate of Griffiths at Kentucky), defenders Nick Barclay (2009 Menace, Gonzaga) and Julien Edwards (2009 Menace, Drake – like Davis, one of the 72 players in this year’s MLS Combine), midfielder Joe Salem (2008-09 Menace, Tulsa) and forward Garrett Webb (2009 Menace, Drake).

Since the Menace’s inception in 1994, more than 30 of the Premier Development League team’s alumni have earned the chance to play professionally. For a list of Menace alumni who have reached the pros, visit
www.MenaceSoccer.com/team/alumni


 
Menace Players Drafted by MLS Teams (20)
Player
Menace
College
MLS Team
Draft (Round, Overall Pick)
Jason Griffiths
2009
Kentucky
New England Revolution
2010 SuperDraft (3rd, 48th)
Justin Davis
2007-2008
New Mexico
Real Salt Lake
2010 SuperDraft (2nd, 32nd)
Danny Cruz
2008
Nevada-Las Vegas
Houston Dynamo 
2009 SuperDraft (3rd, 41st)
Mike Graczyk
2007
New Mexico
Colorado Rapids
2008 Supp. Draft (2nd, 19th)
Matt Allen
2007
Creighton
Los Angeles Galaxy 
2008 SuperDraft (3rd, 34th)
Joe Germanese
2006
Duke
New England Revolution
2008 SuperDraft (2nd, 27th)
Michael Kraus
2005
Creighton
Kansas City Wizards
2007 Supp. Draft (4th, 48th)
Chase Wileman
2009 *
Southern Methodist
FC Dallas
2007 Supp. Draft (4th, 45th)
Matt Wieland 
2005
Creighton
New England Revolution
2006 Supp. Draft (4th, 47th)
Chris Hamburger
2003-2006
Drake
Kansas City Wizards
2006 Supp. Draft (4th, 40th)
Stephen Shirley
2003
Va. Commonwealth
Kansas City Wizards
2006 Supp. Draft (3rd, 29th)
Corey Farabi
2005
Drake
Kansas City Wizards
2006 Supp. Draft (3rd, 28th)
Andy Grunebaum
2005
Kentucky
Columbus Crew
2006 Supp. Draft (1st, 3rd)
Matt Nickell
2002-2003
Drake
DC United
2005 Supp. Draft (1st, 12th)
Tighe Dombrowski
2002
UW-Milwaukee
San Jose Earthquakes
2004 SuperDraft (5th, 50th)
Frank Sanfilippo
2003 *
San Jose State
San Jose Earthquakes
2003 SuperDraft (6th, 56th)
Leo Krupnik
2002, 2004 *
Cal-Berkeley
NY/NJ MetroStars
2002 SuperDraft (6th, 68th)
John Jones
2002-03 *
Sacramento State
Los Angeles Galaxy 
1999 Supp. Draft (2nd, 22nd)
Kirk Wilson
1998
Drake
Dallas Burn
1999 Supp. Draft (1st, 6th)
Ezra Hendrickson
1994
Drake
NY/NJ MetroStars
1997 Supp. Draft (1st, 5th)
 
* = Drafted before playing for the Menace
 
 
Supp. Draft stands for the MLS Supplemental Draft, held after the league's SuperDraft from 1997-2008
 
ABOUT THE MENACE: Preparing for its 17th season as Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team, the Des Moines Menace competes in the 68-team Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). The Menace plays its home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The team will announce its 2010 schedule in the coming weeks.
 
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