Menace head coach Laurie Calloway expects to see a tougher defense in 2011.
As he works to set the opening-night roster for May 14, the veteran coach knows this was a missing element in his 2010 team (6-3-7), which missed the Premier Development League postseason and finished fourth in the Heartland Division.
“Hopefully, with our generals’ corps we have coming in, we’ll be much more solid in the back,” Calloway said. “We gave away games in the last five minutes (in 2010), and ultimately that kept us from making the playoffs.
“We’re going to expect our central defense to step up. We’re looking for a lot of harmony among the defenders, and for a forceful leader to emerge.”
Calloway is welcoming more than a dozen defenders and five goalkeepers who will be fighting for playing time and spots on the 26-player master roster.
The Menace’s season opens with four qualifying matches for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup: May 14 and May 21 against rival St. Louis at Valley Stadium on consecutive Saturdays, and May 17 at Springfield and May 25 at Kansas City.
“I’m excited, based on the first 12 or so guys in town already,” Calloway said. “Things will start coming together next week, when about 20 more players report.”
Calloway gets to see his current players in action on Saturday, when they play in a scrimmage against National Premier Soccer League newcomer Quad Cities Eagles in Rock Island, Ill. Menace fans are invited to a free intra-squad exhibition on Thursday (May 12), set for a 6 p.m. start at Grimes Sports Complex.
In the week leading up to the opener, we’ll introduce the midfielders and forwards joining the team.
Hometown: Jamestown, N.D.
College: Syracuse (2011 transfer from Evansville)
Was a member of the U.S. U-15 and U-17 National Teams…While at Evansville was a 2009 All-Missouri Valley Conference honoree…Has played for the Kalamazoo Outrage (2010) and Ft. Wayne Fever (2009) in the PDL.
Hometown: Iowa City
A state champion with Iowa City West in 2009…Did not see varsity action for Butler in 2010.
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
College: San Francisco
The first USF goalkeeper to earn West Coast Conference all-freshmen team honors…Was named the Colorado Rapids.Academy’s 2009 Player of the Year.
Hometown: Valencia, Calif.
College: Cal State Bakersfield
Placed second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 62 saves his freshman year, which earned him conference honorable mention …Previously played in the PDL for Orange County Blue Star in 2009.
Hometown: Gurnee, Ill.
A 2011 graduate of Marquette University…Played 65 games for the Golden Eagles…Helped Thunder Bay reach the PDL Championship game last season.
Was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 100 Freshman list in 2010, when he started all 18 matches for the Bulldogs...In 2010, led Norwalk to the state title and was crowned Iowa’s “Mr. Soccer.”
Hometown: Macomb, Ill.
College: Western Illinois
Earned second team All-Summit League honors in 2010.
A member of the U20 Jamaican National Team
Hometown: Petaluma, Calif.
College: Sacramento State
A second team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection last season for the Hornets…Led Sacramento State to the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament.
Hometown: London, England
College: Northern Illinois
Named the Northwestern Lakeside Classic MVP for his performance against Holy Cross and Gonzaga, also earned College Soccer News National Team of the Week honors and co-Mid-American Conference Player of the Week recognition…Suited up for Rochester Thunder in 2010.
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Appeared in six matches for the Bulldogs in 2010…Has played in the PDL for the Kalamazoo Outrage (2010) and St. Louis Lions (2009).
College: Creighton (Transfer from Doane College)
Was a first team all-Great Plains Athletic Conference selection while attending Doane College (Neb.).
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Mich.
College: Western Michigan
Will undergo his freshman season with the Broncos this fall.
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
College: Cincinnati (Transfer from Graceland)
Started all 19 matches in the Bearcats run to the semifinals of last year’s Big East Conference Tournament…Also a member of the U20 Canada National Team.
Chris Van Leur
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
College: San Francisco (Transfer from ABM College in Sydney, Australia)
Spent seven seasons with Manly United F.C. and helped the club to multiple championships.
Hometown: American Canyon, Calif.
College: San Francisco
An incoming freshman for the Dons…Was captain for the San Jose Earthquakes’ U-17/18 Academy team in 2010.
ABOUT THE MENACE: Preparing for its 18th season as Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team, the Des Moines Menace competes in the 64-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.