The Des Moines Menace will see its only preseason action this Saturday night (May 2), hosting Des Moines Latinos United at Valley Stadium. The 7:30 exhibition comes a week before the Menace opens the Premier Development League regular season against the Rochester Thunder.
“I am excited for this season,” said fifth-year head coach Casey Mann. “We have a good group coming in, and once we get them all together, we will have some pretty high expectations. I have enjoyed my time with all the guys who have come through the club since I have been here, and I hope to make this a memorable season.”
Mann returns Dan Williams, who leads a trio of talented goalkeepers that also includes Sean Molony from Eastern Illinois and Kyle Zobeck from Valparaiso.
“We have always carried two or three top-flight goalkeepers, so this will continue the tradition,” said Mann, who stood in goal for the first Menace teams. “We create the environment where they push each other and train together all summer.”
Williams, an all-conference (C-USA) honoree at Kentucky, was the only member of the 2008 Menace to play in all 16 matches.
“Dan is a tough, hard-working, blue-collar kid. He loves to train and is tough as nails,” Mann said of Williams, who last season recorded six shutouts and allowed 1.13 goals per contest.
Last year, Molony tended goal for Colorado Rapids U-23, a team that disbanded during the off-season. Mann remarked that the former rival brings depth and experience.
Zobeck is a former Iowa City West standout who just last season was named the Most Valuable Player of the Iowa High-School All-Star game, hosted by the Menace. Mann calls him “one of the top goalkeepers to ever come up through youth soccer in Iowa.”
Zobeck is not the only native Iowan on this year’s roster. Nick Foster (West Des Moines Valley) and Thomas Ostrander (Fort Dodge St. Edmond Catholic), members of Drake’s nationally ranked team from last fall, give the team a local feel, as will other Bulldog teammates to be announced in the coming weeks.
They’ll be joined by Tony Maxey, a Sioux City native who led Dowling Catholic to the 2008 state title before his freshman season at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Maxey, like Zobeck, earned a spot on the Horizon League’s all-newcomer team.
“We are excited to get the local guys here,” Mann said. “They bring a passion to play in front of their friends and family that can add a lot of energy to the team. They add value to our club in truly making this a team for Iowa kids.”
UPCOMING GAMES AND PROMOTIONS
The first 500 fans through the gate this Saturday will receive a free magnet schedule, sponsored by Frito Lay. Latinos can purchase discounted tickets for $5 for this exhibition.
The Menace opens the regular season May 9, hosting the expansion Rochester (Minn.) Thunder at 7:30 p.m. It is the first of the Menace’s four U.S. Open Cup qualifying matches against Heartland Division foes.
The May 9 Mother’s Day celebration is presented by Airheads candy. Moms get in free with the purchase of a child’s ticket, and they receive carnations from Classic Floral Design. All women are invited to participate in the Diamond Dig, presented by Charles Ganske and InFocus Partners. The first 500 fans receive Menace cowbells.