Ben Taylor must be the lucky charm for the Des Moines Menace, as the team heads back to the Premier Development League Playoffs.
Taylor is the only carryover from the Menace's last postseason club. He led the Menace to the 2009 Heartland Division championship and an Elite Eight finish.
“In ’09 we had a really good year but because the season went late, we had a lot of people leave for their college season. I think this season we’re a lot more individually talented,” said Taylor. “Now we’re bonded and have togetherness. I could certainly tell it on the ride back from St. Louis on Sunday after we found out our result. We just have more talent this season. I honestly think the team can go as far as they want to just on talent alone.”
After taking a break from the Des Moines in 2010 and playing for Heartland Division opponent Springfield, the Scottish sensation is back in a Menace kit.
The 2009 Menace points leader (13) brought his experience to the 2011 squad and demonstrated why he is a fan favorite, tallying one goal and two assists in six games this season.
“I knew in 2009 that I wanted to stay in this area somewhere,” said Taylor. “I really like it here. There’s a lot of opportunity to go home and play but I really like the lifestyle here.”
It wasn’t just the sweet corn and the nightlife that made him return to the 5-1-5, but the people are what caught his attention and won his heart.
“My favorite thing about the Menace is all the people. Between the staff, the fans and the Red Army. There’s a lot of support for the team in Des Moines,” noted Taylor. “It’s special to play out in front of those guys. You don’t get that experience anywhere else in the PDL.”
Taylor’s familiarity and involvement with the game and Menace organization have landed him the interim head men’s coaching position at Iowa Central Community College. Originally hired to be the assistant, Taylor received the interim position after a recent staff departure.
“I think it was the fastest promotion in history,” joked Taylor.
The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, but Taylor feels confident in his coaching abilities.
“I think coaches are made by their experiences. I’ve been around the game my whole life and I’ve been lucky to learn how to play in different cultures,” mentioned Taylor.
Luckily for him, Taylor has built his coaching resume by coaching for a U17/18 club in Scotland, for a club in St. Louis and most recently heading Menace camps.
“I’m excited to coach at the collegiate level. I think it will go well. Hopefully I’ll be able to pass on my experience to them and help them move on in the game,” said Taylor.
To Taylor, soccer is more than a game of kicking a ball around on grass or turf.
“My favorite thing about the sport is the passion. It’s the best sport in the world. The fans love it and it’s crazy how much it means to people. People travel around the world to watch soccer and witness other fans and I think the U.S. is starting to become as passionate. I really don’t think you get that passion and excitement in any other sport,” noted Taylor.
Coaching holds a new horizon for this Scotsman, but the Menace will always stay in his heart.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and keep playing for the Menace next summer,” said Taylor. “I really enjoy playing for the organization and in front of all the fans.”