WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Wednesday, May 16, 2012 – Embarking on a new era of Iowa soccer, the inaugural Des Moines Menace women’s team takes the field for their first match on Saturday.
The Menace hosts defending Women’s League Soccer League champion FC Indiana at Valley Stadium. Each of the women’s team’s four home matches begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by a Premier Development League match at 7:30, treating fans to two matches for the price of one.
Head coach Kevin Schalk has set the roster of 25 female athletes ready to introduce Iowa to a new level of women’s soccer. Schalk looks to use college players from throughout the state, as well as ex-professional players to make his team competitive this summer.
The FC Indiana Lionesses upheld the reputation for being one of the top women’s programs in the United States. An impressive list of alumni includes nine former players who were part of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In 2005, the Lionesses made history through achieving the first ever American women’s soccer double by winning the Women’s Premier Soccer League national championship and the USASA Open Cup, accomplishing this in less than one week.
In its second year, the WLS has five teams, also featuring the Cincy Lady Saints, Fort Wayne Sporting Club and the Indiana Invaders. During a regular season that ends in July, each team will play a home-and-home series with every other team in the league.
While the Lionesses look to wield some experience, former Boston Breakers midfielder, Iowa State grad and Des Moines Menace newcomer, Jordan Bishop, is excited about starting fresh.
“I like the idea that it’s a new program,” said Bishop. “Being a part of all this is exciting.”
The foundation of Iowa soccer is in good standing with a strong youth program as well as four NCAA Division-I programs statewide. Until now the next level of women’s soccer in Iowa has been non-existent.
“It gives the (young) girls something to look up to,” said Schalk. “A different experience. Know that there is excitement on the men’s side, but the talent is available for (women’s soccer) at this level too.”
With five girls from Upper Iowa University (Catharine Bunting, Kali Loescher, Amanda Millard, Jill Schechinger, Kelsey Taldone), five from Iowa State University (Bishop, Jennifer Dominguez, Brittany Morgan, Jessica Stewart, Andrea Swanson) and two players (Gisela Arrieta, Shannon Scarlett) and an assistant coach (Shay Eskridge) from Graceland University, Schalk didn’t have to look far to find the talent he was seeking.
“We have great commitment from Iowa, Iowa State, Drake and UNI, as well as the local schools,” said Schalk.
Carlan Samuelson, a first year at AIB and native of Salt Lake City, has committed to play for the first-ever AIB College of Business team, opening NAIA play this fall, under head coach Brandon Ermels. Working with Ermels, Schalk was able to give these girls more of an opportunity than just college soccer.
“It’s a new start, a new clean slate,” said Samuelson. “I’m excited to see how all these girls coming from different places come together.”
Des Moines Menace WLS 2012 Schedule
Saturday, May 19 4:30 p.m. FC Indiana Valley Stadium
Saturday, June 2 4 p.m. at FC Indiana Lafayette or South Bend – TBD
Saturday, June 9 4 p.m. at Indiana Invaders Invaders Complex
Saturday, June 30 4:30 p.m. Cincy Saints Ladies Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 7 4:30 p.m. Indiana Invaders Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 14 4:30 p.m. Ft. Wayne SC Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 21 4 p.m. at Cincy Saints Ladies Withrow High School
Sunday, July 22 4 p.m. at Ft. Wayne SC Jim Kelley Stadium
ABOUT THE MENACE WOMEN: Entering its inaugural season in the Women’s League Soccer (WLS), the Des Moines Menace women provide the highest level of competition in Iowa competing in a five team league that started in 2011. The Menace women will play four home matches with a 4:30 p.m. kickoff time and a Menace men’s match to follow at 7:30 p.m. On these double header weekends fans will have the opportunity to get two games for the price of one. In its 19th season as Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team, the Des Moines Menace competes in the 73-team Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). Both Menace teams play their home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.
The organization promotes healthy lifestyles through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics and tournaments.
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