WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – April 23, 2009 – A fixture in the Des Moines Menace’s lineup since his breakout 2002 season, Tomas Boltnar has played his last game for the Premier Development League team.
Boltnar, the PDL’s 2002 and 2003 Most Valuable Player, retires as Des Moines’ all-time leading scorer.
“It’s time to hang it up. I’d love to play PDL for another 10 years, but my life responsibilities have changed,” Boltnar said. “I felt like I could not give my 100 percent to the PDL team any longer and had limited time to train and get ready for the season. Something had to give, and – unfortunately – it was the playing.”
Boltnar will continue to work as a cost analyst for Kum & Go and coach two Menace Academy boys teams. He has been with the company since 2003, and he started coaching Menace youth teams the following year.
“Playing with the Menace has been great,” Boltnar said. “I will miss playing for a great organization and the best fans in the PDL.”
The Czech Republic native retires with the most celebrated career in the franchise’s 15-year history. He has countless stories to tell about some of the defining moments in Menace history, including the team’s magical 2005 season that culminated in the PDL championship. Boltnar also speaks fondly of the Menace’s four runs in the U.S. Open Cup, in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. These are the same four seasons that he earned PDL first-team honors.
Boltnar burst onto the PDL scene in 2002, leading the way for a team that went undefeated in the regular season. He scored goals in all but one of the Menace’s (15-0-3) games that year, earning the league’s Rookie of the Year honors and the first of back-to-back M.V.P. awards.
Menace head coach Casey Mann spoke of the other intangibles that the fan favorite has provided in his final seasons.
“On a team where young players come and go all the time and faces change, he brought a veteran, professional consisitency that really helped provide the example for all these guys to follow,” said Mann, who enters his fifth season as head coach. “He has brought a consistent face to the club. Successful teams in every sport are all about consistency of staff and players and having Boltnar year in and year out has brought that consistency and expectation to this club.
“He is growing as a coach and hopefully will stay with it,” Mann continued.”He brings a personality to the staff and a respect as a former player, and I hope he chooses to pursue some of his beginning coaching licenses so that he can continue to grow.”
The Menace is honoring Boltnar by retiring his uniform at a late-season match. The team opens the season with a May 2 exhibition against Des Moines Latinos United. It is the first of ten home matches, which are all slated for 7:30 starts on Saturday nights at Valley Stadium. The Menace opens its regular season when it hosts the expansion Rochester Thunder on May 9.
“I would like to thank the Menace organization for a great seven years,” Boltnar said. “All the best to very new and exiting Menace team in 2009 season.”
It’s also an exciting time for the Boltnars. Tomas and wife Jessica are expecting an addition to their family in July. Their two-year-old son, Dominik, will have a baby sister.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace is preparing for its 16th season as Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team. The 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 opens the season on Saturday, May 2, hosting Des Moines Latinos United at 7:30 p.m.
For information on the Menace organization and its youth-soccer programs, please visit MenaceSoccer.com.