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Player Spotlight Features Alums


Where are they now?
Growing up, soccer is everything for Menace players, but after the jersey is worn for the final time and the cleats are hung-up, what happens?

Let’s take a look at what life is like for Menace players after the last whistle blows. Tomas Boltnar, Neathan Gibson and Luke Frieberg took time to answer our questions this week, leading up to their Menace Alumni team's Saturday exhibition against the 2011 Menace. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium.

Menace Alumni Roster
Tomas Boltnar
Years Played for Menace: 2002-2008  
Soccer Position: Forward
Current Position: Cost Analyst for Kum & Go
tomas bobble heads.jpg
What made you want to stay with the Menace organization?
“It’s part of my personality, you have your true colors and you stick with them. I only played for one club back at home and I felt that I was taken care of really good as a player here with the Menace. In return you do the best you can for your club. The things the Menace do are the way things are supposed to be.”
How did you get to where you are today?
“I was able to play and had an internship. I went back to school for my MBA and the Menace asked me back to play. They gave me a full-time job with Kum & Go, which is how I got to where I am today. I am a cost analyst and oversee salary costs and budget hours for all the stores each week. I’m also a buyer for non-resale items like paper products and garbage bags.”
“I still coach. It’s nice to pass on the experience of playing to our players.”
What’s the secret to being the PDL scoring champion?
“It takes lots of practice. When I was back home, I trained Monday through Friday. I joined at the age of six and played with my club team till I was 17. I would stay over after every practice with a buddy and we would work on pk’s. That’s what we did. We had this game where we would try and score on each other. One person would be in the goal until they stopped the other guy from scoring.”
What advice would you give to today’s players?
“It can sound like the coaches are being mean to you, but take their advice and think about it. See it as true and do something about it as to how you can get better. I mean, listen to those who have been around the game for a long time. Don’t make excuses but make yourself better.”
Neathan Gibson
Year Played for Menace: 2002
Soccer Position: Forward
Current Position: PDL Assistant Head Coach, Menace Director of Coaching
Menace Coaching Staff: 2002, returned in 2010
What do you like about the Menace organization?
“The Menace is run very professionally. They simulate the professional game in a lot of ways from the pre-game meal, set-up, to the pregame talk, relaying tactics at halftime, to the post-game interaction with the fans and signing autographs on balls. A lot of that has to do with Kyle and his backing as well as the full-time staff, and having Laurie as a coach who has a lot of experience at the professional level. It’s just nothing short of professional.”
How has the Menace organization helped you?
“The Menace has helped me from a coaching standpoint. I started coaching full-time to give back to the community and was able to develop my career. It gave the opportunity to complete my coaching license and take on a collegiate coaching position in Michigan. After that I ran my own club and soccer school called ‘Instinct 4 Goal’ for two years.”
How does the Menace compare today with when you played?
“Nowadays the players on the field are a lot faster. I think it’s a more exciting game to watch. I would prefer to watch our team today if you were to put the two side-by-side. They have a lot more skill and play at a faster pace.”
What was it like back when you were playing?
“There are good memories with those lads. The game was set-up around us and filled with young, talented players in the system. Training was fun, we joked around. But we knew when to joke and when to play.”
What advice would you give to today’s players?
“The advice I would give would be to work on your killer instinct. The lads are a good bunch and have a good sense of humor, but you need to know how to put it aside and get the job done.”
Luke Frieberg
Years Played for Menace: 2005-2007
Soccer Position: Defender
Current Position: Assistant Manager, The Principal Financial Group
What was your favorite thing about playing for the Menace?
“My favorite thing was the group of guys. I started with the Menace my freshman year of college and it was nice to meet the guys, hang out with them and get to know them. I was with the soon to be seniors at my school, Drake, and it was great to be with them and get ready for our fall season.”
How does the Menace compare today with when you played?
“From what I’ve seen, the team is more international now. When I played, a lot of the guys grew up in Iowa. The year we won the National Championship, we had like 7-9 guys from Iowa on the team. Now you start to see a bigger draw across the country with the success they’ve been having. It creates a greater exposer level and your able to attract more guys because they want the opportunity to play at the higher level and against teams like the Chicago Fire or Sporting KC.”
What was it like to score the game-winning goal in the PDL championship?
“I got the benefit from the whole situation. Corey Farabi scored right before me and our keeper, Andy Gruenebaum made the save. We knew we had to keep going or we would lose. I remember Tomas came up to me and told me that the goalie was quick to move. I knew I just had to put it on frame and see what happens. I placed it, took the shot and after that, it just blew my mind.”
What advice would you give to today’s players?
“I would tell the guys to enjoy it while they have it. Your playing career will only last so long. Injuries will come along and shorten it so make sure you cherish it while you have it.”
What are you up to now?
“As of now, I’m with the Principal Financial Group and it’s been great. I was given an opportunity out of college and I knew that your first year out of school is tough to get into the working world, so I took the opportunity. It was a big transition to go from soccer and school to work. Now I’m in the life-insurance department, specifically new businesses and I manage a couple of teams.”

Menace interns Jenae Jenison and BJ Stokesbary provide fans with a player spotlight video and story each week.

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