Mike Jeffries, the new head coach of the Des Moines Menace, was most recently the Chicago Fire's director of player personnel. Photo credit: Brian Kersey / Chicago-Fire.com
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 – The Des Moines Menace’s new coach has more than 20 years’ experience as a professional-soccer coach and player, including more than 10 years on the Major League Soccer sidelines. A former member of the United States Men’s National Team and the NCAA’s player of the year, he has ties to the game’s international and college levels.
Announced today by Menace owner Kyle Krause, Mike Jeffries is the eighth head coach in the franchise’s 20-year history.
“Our search for a new head coach was comprehensive and I am happy to say we found the ideal person to lead the Menace forward,” Krause said. “His coaching experience at all levels of the game – from the NCAA to MLS to the World Cup – make Mike Jeffries perfectly suited to fulfill our expectations of success in both the Premier Development League and (Lamar Hunt) U.S. Open Cup.”
Jeffries’ MLS career includes three seasons (2001-03) as Dallas’s head coach and two stints with the Chicago Fire. He led the Burn (since renamed FC Dallas) to the MLS Playoffs in each of his first two seasons and was nominated for MLS Coach of the Year in 2002.
The Bethesda, Md., native assisted Bob Bradley during the Fire’s first three seasons. The inaugural Fire won the 1998 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles; Chicago repeated as Open Cup champion in 2000. After his time in Dallas and four years as a college coach, Jeffries returned to Chicago, where he was an assistant coach from early 2008 until early 2010, and director of player personnel from October 2010 until last September.
“I’m excited to work with a premier franchise, to work as a head coach again,” Jeffries said. “I’m looking forward to working with young players, getting back to the development mode of the PDL, and directly impacting players' improvement. I relish the challenge of building upon the success of the Menace.”
Jeffries, 50, was a scout for the U.S. national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, assisting Bradley and his staff in South Africa. In 1984 and 1985, he earned three caps as a member of the national team.
A graduate of Duke University, Jeffries earned the 1983 Hermann Trophy (NCAA soccer’s equivalent to football’s Heisman Trophy) as a senior. His junior season ended in an epic national-title match – an eight-overtime, 2-1 loss to Indiana.
A couple college stops led to a coaching position with his alma mater. A volunteer assistant at Southern Methodist in 2004 and the head coach at The University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio) in 2005, Jeffries was Duke’s associate head coach in 2006 and 2007.
“The PDL prides itself on developing the next generation of professional soccer players,” Menace general manager Matt Homonoff said. “Mike Jeffries has a proven track record of identifying top domestic and international talent, and we’re confident that he’ll build a winning team here in Des Moines.”
“Recruiting-wise, it’s a plus that I come in having worked with a lot of college coaches,” Jeffries said. “My familiarity with MLS will help in establishing professional standards for the team as well as providing players a reference with direct MLS ties. I want to set a good foundation for the Menace, establishing Des Moines as the first place top-level players want to come to develop and prepare for the pros.”
From 1984 until 1988, Jeffries played in the country’s top professional ranks. In the final season of the original North American Soccer League, he scored two goals in 10 matches for the 1984 Minnesota Strikers. The first pick of the 1983 Major Indoor Soccer League Draft, he played in the league for the Minnesota Strikers from 1984-1987 and for the Dallas Sidekicks in 1988, when a torn ACL in his knee ended his playing career.
The first stop in his coaching career was New Orleans (A-League), where he was assistant coach in 1993-94 and the head coach from 1995-98. In his first two seasons at the helm, he coached Ezra Hendrickson, a member of the inaugural 1994 Menace who went on to play 12 seasons in Major League Soccer. Hendrickson and Jeffries were reunited with the Dallas Burn in 2003.
The Menace’s new head coach carries a high standard for the organization and the players who will represent it.
“I will run the team as I would a professional team,” Jeffries said. “I want to provide a situation in which players will get exposure to the professionalism they can expect at the next level; equally importantly, I will work with them and push them in the areas they need to improve. The communication between coach and player is vital - I will provide players a clear picture of what is expected and what they need to do.”
And what can fans expect?
“I intend to build a team which builds the game by passing and moving quickly, shows creativity in possession, and displays tenacity in winning the ball back from the opponent. We’re going to work hard to win the (Heartland) division, to put together a run in the playoffs and to put together a run in the Open Cup, allowing us to compete with professional teams.”
Already on the recruiting trail, Jeffries will be in Des Moines full-time starting the week of the Menace’s open tryouts, set for April 6 at Valley Stadium.
Michael (Mike) Jeffries
Born: May 20, 1962 in Lynn, Mass.; Native of Bethesda, Md., after age three
Wife: Terry (married Sept. 10, 1988)
Children: daughter Kaitlin (19, sophomore at Duke), son A.J. (17, plans on attending Louisville starting fall 2013) and son Nathan (13)
Education: B.S., Duke University (1984, Electrical Engineering/Public Policy); M.B.A., Tulane University (1993, Finance)
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 20th season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 65-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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