Andy Gruenebaum, the MVP of the 2005 PDL championship match, is one of 60-some Menace alumni who have played professionally. / Photo credit: MLSsoccer.com
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 – Andy Gruenebaum’s breakout season was the top story for Des Moines Menace alumni playing professional soccer in 2012.
Gruenebaum, a hero on the Menace’s 2005 championship team, made the most of his opportunities in 2012, emerging as the Crew’s starting goalie early in the season, and ending it as Major League Soccer’s saves leader.
As we prepare for the Menace’s 20th Premier Development League season, we look back on the 2012 accomplishments of more than 20 active professional players who have been part of Des Moines Menace soccer through the years.
Major League Soccer
The Crew’s 2012 Most Valuable Player, Gruenebaum kept his goal-starved team in contention for a playoff spot. Gruenebaum, a career backup to William Hesmer, got his shot when Hesmer went down in March with a season-ending injury. In 33 matches (seven more than his first six MLS seasons combined), he allowed just 41 goals and stopped 124 shots – 15 more than any other MLS keeper, with more than his share of highlight-reel saves.
This past year also brought change for Danny Cruz and Lamar Neagle. The former Menace and UNLV teammates were each traded in 2012. Cruz was traded twice, from Houston to D.C. United in January and from D.C. to Philadelphia in August. After a prolific 2011 season, Neagle was dealt by Seattle to Montreal in February.
Cruz (2008 Menace) scored a goal at each of his 2012 stops, where he combined for 28 appearances. His two goals matched his season total from the previous two years, and his four assists (including three with D.C. United) marked a career-high.
Neagle (2007-08) appeared in 23 matches for the expansion Impact. He scored two goals, the first coming in a 4-1 June win over his former team.
A pair of 2012 draft picks with Menace ties made the rosters for their respective teams, and they look to make their MLS debuts in 2013. Andrew Duran (2011), a SuperDraft selection by Seattle, was loaned in June to Atlanta (North American Soccer League). Lance Rozeboom’s (2007-09) promising rookie season ended in March, when he suffered an ACL tear in his left knee. Rozeboom, chosen in the MLS Supplemental Draft by D.C. United, made the 18-man roster for a road match against Los Angeles, the 2011 and 2012 league champion.
North American Soccer League
The Menace was well-represented in October’s championship series of the second-pision NASL, which pitted the Tampa Bay Rowdies against defending champ Minnesota Stars FC. Frankie Sanfilippo (2001) captained the Rowdies, who won the two-legged Soccer Bowl with a home win decided on penalty kicks. Justin Davis (2007-08) started for the Stars.
Sanfilippo made 30 appearances in his ninth pro season, logging more than 2,000 minutes. He was not the only Menace alum on Tampa Bay’s roster this season: Dan O’Brien (2007) turned a preseason trial into a roster spot and five appearances with the Rowdies, after spending the last two seasons in New Zealand.
Davis played in 28 matches for the Stars, who appeared on the cusp of their second-straight title after a 2-0 home win in the championship’s first leg. Davis returned to Des Moines on May 22, leading the Stars to a 2-0 win over the Menace in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. A week later, Minnesota upset Real Salt Lake (the MLS team that drafted Davis in 2010), 3-1, to advance to the Cup’s fourth round (a 1-0 loss to San Jose).
Joe Salem (2008-09) and Edson Edwards (2008) teamed up with the Puerto Rico Islanders, who finished third in the eight-team league. Andrew Duran (see MLS, above) played seven matches with the Atlanta Silverbacks, on loan from Seattle.
United Soccer Leagues Pro
Nicki Paterson (2007-08) guided the Charleston Battery to the 2012 USL Pro title. He led the Battery with 10 goals, was named team MVP and earned a late-season trial with the New York Red Bulls (MLS).
Veteran Joseph Kabwe (2003) scored a goal and assisted two more in 18 matches with the Charlotte Eagles.
Clark Bradford, the 2010 team’s captain, was named MVP of the Queensland State League (Australia). His seven goals for the Whitsunday Miners matches his total from his all-star 2011 season.
Leo Krupnik has made six appearances in his fourth-straight season with Maccabi Netanya in the Israeli Premier League Krupnik, who spent time with the Menace in 2002 and 2004, has played in more than 240 professional matches.
Josh Wicks (2003), a former Major League Soccer goalkeeper, started the year with IFK Mariehamn in the Finnish Premier League and has since caught on with Icelandic side Thór Akureyri.
Besmir Bega, a Drake product who played for the 2007 Menace, is in his fourth season with Partizani Tirana in his native Albania.
Bradley Barraclough (2009) is in in second season in his native England, on loan from Lincoln City to Gainsborough Trinity.
A trio of former UMKC and 2011 Menace teammates are still at it this winter, as part of the seven-team Major Indoor Soccer League. Coady Andrews and John Sosa, who each spent time wearing the captain’s band for Des Moines, play for the Missouri Comets. Bryan Perez, recently traded from the Wichita Wings to the Syracuse Silver Knights, is the reigning MISL Player of the Week.
Joe Salem (see above, NASL) is playing for the Ohio Vortex in the Professional Arena Soccer League. Anthony Medina (2002) is in his fourth season for the PASL’s San Diego Sockers.
Menace Alumni in the Pros
Please email us with any missing Menace alumni or inaccurate information.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. The Menace men’s side competes in the 73-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team debuted in 2012, winning the Women’s League Soccer championship. The Menace teams play their home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The organization promotes a healthy lifestyle through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics, Junior Menace and tournaments.
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