On May 28, the Menace faced eventual MLS Cup champion Sporting KC. Story posted Dec. 30, 2013.
For the Des Moines Menace organization, 2013 was jam-packed with changes, celebrations, and new heights.
Open Cup magic highlighted this anniversary year for Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team. 2013 was etched by the Menace’s 20th season in the Premier Development League. It was a year that welcomed a new general manager and a new head coach. A year that brought a new league (and a playoff berth) for our women’s team, continued success for our youth programs and something few could have predicted: snow soccer on a chilly November night.
Thanks for joining us, as we reflect on this memorable year for Menace Soccer.
Jeffries tabbed to lead Menace
The year was barely a week old when we made an exciting announcement to kick-start 2013: Menace owner Kyle Krause introduced Mike Jeffries as the team’s head coach. Jeffries, a former Major League Soccer head coach and former member of the U.S. national team, would bring more than 20 years’ experience as a professional coach and player. The Menace would open its 20th Premier Development League season with two new leaders, both with MLS experience, as GM Matt Homonoff took the helm in Nov. 2012.
Four alumni drafted by MLS teams
With the sixth pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the Colorado Rapids made Deshorn Brown the first Menace alum to go in the draft’s top ten. Stephen Okai (Philadelphia) was a second-round selection, and Kyle Zobeck (FC Dallas) and Lebogang Moloto (Seattle) were chosen in the following week’s MLS Supplemental Draft, bringing to 30 the number of Menace alumni drafted by MLS teams.
Brown made an instant impact, leading all first-year players with 10 goals and finishing second in the voting for MLS Rookie of the Year.
Menace joins WPSL
The last day of February brought news that 2013 would be the Menace’s first season in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. After a successful 2012 debut as Women’s League Soccer champions, head coach Kevin Schalk’s team prepared to step it up, joining the more than 70 teams in the WPSL. This was the first story we posted on the new-look MenaceSoccer.com, which also launched separate pages for our men’s and women’s teams.
Sporting Kansas City, here we come!
A thrilling upset of Minnesota United FC set up the Menace franchise’s first-ever match in an MLS venue. On a rainy night in St. Paul, the visitors scored in the 86th minute and held on for the win in the second round of the 100-year-old Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Menace captain Brandon Fricke, whose header goal stood as the night’s only score, was named the national tournament’s “Player of the Round.”
Open Cup hero Brandon Fricke was swarmed by teammates after scoring late in the May 21 win.
Menace hangs with Sporting KC
On a night our players and fans will not soon forget, the Menace went toe-to-toe with the defending Open Cup champs. And, in front of more than 15,000 fans, the Menace players held their own. More than 70 minutes into this surreal match, the Menace was just one magical moment away from tying Sporting KC. Though the pros clearly outplayed the amateurs, the final score was a more-than-respectable 2-0 SKC win. The goals came from MLS all-stars Claudio Bieler (73rd minute) and Kei Kamara (12th minute).
Menace Academy U13 boys win State Cup
The 2012-13 youth-soccer season was marked by Iowa State Cup championships for two Menace Academy boys teams, both coached by Menace legend Tomas Boltnar. With a 5-1 win over CRSA on a Sunday afternoon at Cownie Soccer Park, the Menace Academy U13s joined the club’s U18s (fall 2012 champions) as state champs.
Boltnar’s teams did not have to travel far to go to the US Youth Soccer Region II tournament. In a banner year for Des Moines soccer, the city hosted the regional event. More than 200 of the Midwest’s top youth teams descended on Iowa’ capital for the tournament, with games played at Cownie Soccer Park and West Des Moines’ Hidden Valley Complex.
2013 was also a great year for the Menace’s popular youth programs. More than 550 children ages 3-9 participated in Junior Menace’s winter, spring and fall sessions; More than 400 children ages 3-18 attended the Menace’s summer camps and clinics. The organization’s five tournament weekends attracted 449 teams, though 51 of these teams were not able to play, as the first weekend of the Just for Girls Tournament was cancelled in April, due to unplayable conditions at Cownie Soccer Park after record rains.
Menace gets payback, WPSL playoff berth
A lot was on the line on this Saturday afternoon on Pleasant Valley’s home field. Just two weeks earlier at Valley Stadium, the Quad City Eagles had secured a 2-1 win – the Menace ladies’ first-ever non-win at home. The in-state foes squared off on the Eagles home turf, with a playoff spot hanging in the balance. This time around, the Menace got the pivotal win, thanks to captain Jordan Bishop. Her goal in the 50th minute would stand as the game’s only score – enough for the Menace (5-3-0) to edge QC and Madison for the final playoff spot.
Jordan Bishop, a second-year captain, scored the game-winning goal that sent the Menace into the playoffs.
Late heroics keep Menace in PDL’s postseason picture
On this same afternoon, the Menace men were fighting for their playoff lives. They needed to defeat the rival St. Louis Lions to stay in the hunt for the Heartland Division’s second and final PDL playoff spot. They would have to come away with a win at Tony Glavin Complex, the site of a 1-0 loss on May 25. They got the necessary result. Chris Harmon’s one-timer from 15 yards out came in the 82nd minute, less than four minutes after play resumed following a 90-minute lightning delay.
The elated Menace came home with a 5-5-1 mark, needing to win the final three matches to get into the playoffs. Unfortunately, Des Moines went 1-1-1 down the home stretch, closing with a 3-3 tie to the Lions on July 20 at Valley Stadium.
Menace ladies advance to division final
The Menace ousted the top-seeded Ohio Galaxies, 4-1, in the first round of the WPSL Midwest Division playoffs. The match was played in Centerville, Ohio, on the home turf of a Galaxies team that finished the regular season 7-1 after winning its four final matches by a 20-1 margin. Vanessa Batista and Haley Helverson each scored twice in the second half to secure the Menace ladies’ first-ever playoff win.
The next day, Des Moines’ playoff run ended in the division championship. Fire and Ice SC (Ill.) prevailed, 2-0, to move on to the league’s final four.
Fricke earns all-league status
More than 1,200 players suited up for PDL teams this year; only 11 were named all-league. The Menace’s Brandon Fricke was named as a member of the 2013 All-PDL Team, putting him in elite company. Fricke, a fourth-year defender from Grimes, scored two PDL goals, on top of his all-important score in the Open Cup’s second round. He is just the third Menace player to make the all-PDL team, joining Tomas Boltnar (2003, 2005, 2006) and John Sosa (2011).
When the Menace announced its team awards on July 26, Fricke was named Defender of the Year. Goalkeeper Scott Angevine was named the team’s MVP.
WPSL honors go to four Menace players
Rachel Avant, Jordan Bishop, Haley Helverson and Katie Hurd earned spots on the league’s 2013 All-Midwest/Big Sky-South Conference Teams. Avant and Bishop made the all-conference first team; Helverson and Hurd were second-team selections.
The Menace’s team awards recognized all four of these players. Bishop was named MVP.
Menace wins in snow, qualifies for 2014 Cup
The Menace has played in each of the last four U.S. Open Cups. To keep that streak alive, the franchise had one last chance this fall: To field a team that will compete in the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA, for short) National Cups, Region II Tournament. If this team could advance to the finals of this eight-tournament, the Menace would clinch a berth in next year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Under less-than-ideal conditions, the Menace got the job done. On this ice-cold night (four degree windchill!), on a snow-covered Valley Stadium field, the Menace downed RWB Adria (Ill.). Des Moines heated up after a scoreless first half, with goals coming from former Menace PDL players Michael Thaden, Sean Hoek and Michael Noonan. A week earlier (on a 65-degree afternoon), the home-team Menace defeated the Kansas City (Kan.) Athletics, 4-2, in the regional tournament’s quarterfinals.
Sean Hoek (17), Jack Pearson (background) and company pulled out the Snow-vember win to keep the Menace's Cup streak going.
Same team, same field: We played the MLS Cup champs!
Sporting Kansas City’s run to the MLS Cup championship was the perfect way to punctuate this memorable 2013 for the Des Moines Menace. To watch the MLS Cup brought back great memories from May 28, while adding that much more legitimacy to the Menace’s 2013 Open Cup run, and to the organization’s place in North America’s soccer landscape.
What a year for Sporting Park – the first venue to host the MLS All-Star Game (July 31), the U.S. Men’s National Team (Oct. 11) and the MLS Cup (and the Menace) all in the same year.
And what a year for Sporting KC! The Menace’s 2013 Open Cup opponent is the MLS Cup champion, after outlasting Real Salt Lake in a 10-round shootout to hoist the cup. The teams were tied 1-1 after 120 minutes, and SKC prevailed with a 7-6 shootout win. Aurelian Collin, who played all 90 minutes against the Menace in May, was named the MLS Cup MVP.
To all the players, coaches, fans, interns and volunteers who have been part of the Menace’s memorable 2013: Thank you for your support, and we wish you a happy and healthy 2014!