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Menace announces seven foreign players

The 2010 Des Moines Menace will have a distinctly international flavor.

England native Laurie Calloway is back as the Premier Development League team’s head coach, and he is joined by assistant coach Neathan Gibson, who hails from South Africa. As the season draws near, Calloway and Gibson welcome at least seven new players who come from outside the United States.

Players have started reporting to camp, preparing for the Menace’s May 8 exhibition opener against Drake at Valley Stadium.

“If the first batch of players is anything to go off of, we’ve got a lot to be excited about,” said Calloway. “We’re going to have defenders who can attack out of the back and midfielders who can score goals. Hopefully, we’ll give fans a very exciting brand of soccer.”

Stephen Okai and Jubril Lawal are the first international players on the scene. They came with University of Mobile (Ala.) teammate Jason Williams, a goalkeeper.

Okai played for the U15-U17 Ghana national team; Lawal, just 16 years old, is from Nigeria.

The other foreign players who have committed to play with the Menace:

  • Lebogang Moloto – nicknamed “Tsunami” – a South African who was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the NAIA Division I National Championship, after leading Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) to the title
  • English footballers Clark Bradford (Christian Brothers University in Memphis) and Sam Brooks (Kentucky)
  • Luis Piffer, a Brazilian forward from Marshalltown Community College who joins Grand View University in the fall
  • Kenan Malicevic, a Bosnian citizen who will play against the Menace on May 8 before joining the team for the regular season
Through the organization’s 16 previous seasons, Des Moines Menace players have represented 27 countries, to be featured on the opening page of this year’s souvenir program. As the soccer world prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Gibson’s and Moloto’s native South Africa, the Menace unveils a new theme: "Experience the World's Game."

“It’s very interesting for fans. They can see a Menace game the same day as a World Cup game,” Calloway said. “It’s an educational thing for fans to compare us to the top teams in the world. They’ll be able to compare the styles of play.”

See what players return from the 2009 team.

Player Capsules

Stephen Okai

College:University of Mobile(NAIA Division I; Mobile, Ala.)
Hometown: Ghana
Okai was a member of the U15-17 Ghana National team.

Jubril Lawal
Position: Midfielder
College:University of Mobile(NAIA Division I; Mobile, Ala.)
Hometown: Nigeria
Lawal is only 16 years old; he was 14 when he graduated high school.

Lebogang Moloto

College:Lindsey Wilson College(NAIA Division I; St. Columbia, Ky.)
Hometown:Polokwane, South Africa
In 2009, Moloto scored eight goals and had five assists for the Blue Raiders. He helped lead Lindsey Wilson to the NAIA Division I National Championship and was honored as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the tournament. Moloto, nicknamed “Tsunami,” was selected as an NAIA all-America first-teamer in 2009.

Clark Bradford
Position: Midfielder

College:Christian Brothers University(NCAA Division II; Memphis, Tenn.)
Hometown:Blackburn, England
In 2009, Bradford had five goals for the Buccaneers and led the team in assists with seven.

Sam Brooks
College:University of Kentucky(NCAA; Lexington, Ky.)
Hometown:Birmingham, England
In 2009, Brooks transferred from University of the Cumberlands to the University of Kentucky.

Luis Piffer
Position: Forward

College: Marshalltown Community College (NJCAA Division I; Marshalltown, Iowa.)
Hometown: Amparo, Brazil
In 2010, Piffer is committed to play for Grand View University.

Kenan Malicevic
Position: Forward
College:Drake University(NCAA Division I; Des Moines, Iowa)
Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
In 2009, Malicevic appeared in 24 games for the Bulldogs. He scored six goals and had one assist.

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