Maniac's ready for the 21st season of Des Moines Menace Soccer. Are you?
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 – The Des Moines Menace’s division has a new look for the 2014 Premier Development League season.
United Soccer League officials this afternoon announced the 2014 season schedule for the 64-team PDL. Teams in the league’s 10 divisions have been shuffled; The Menace’s Heartland Division welcomes a new member and loses a couple teams.
New to the Heartland Division is the Chicago Inferno, a fourth-year PDL team that shifts over from the Great Lakes Division. The Menace’s regular-season home schedule opens against the Inferno on Saturday, June 7. Des Moines visits Chicago on Tuesday, June 24.
Out of the picture are the Kansas City Brass and the Real Colorado Foxes – teams with more than 20 combined seasons in the Heartland Division. The Brass, the Menace’s closest geographical rival, has ceased operations after 16 seasons (1998-2013); The Foxes, who have edged the Menace for a playoff spot each of the last two seasons, move to the new Mountain Division for the Denver-based franchise’s sixth season.
West Des Moines’ Valley Stadium is the Menace’s home for the seventh-straight year. The team’s seven PDL home matches – played on one Friday, five Saturdays and one Sunday – will begin at 7:30 p.m. The schedule for the Menace women’s team, to be released in March, will feature 4:30 home matches as the opening act in several doubleheaders – two games for the price of one.
“We are proud to once again offer one of the greatest values in family-friendly entertainment in the state of Iowa,” said Menace general manager Matt Homonoff. “Our expectations on the field are simple – to get back to the PDL playoffs for the first time since 2011 and to contend for a national championship. We fully expect to put together a team our fans can be proud of, and we look forward to the challenge ahead.”
The Menace’s 2014 home slate falls heavily on the second half of the season. After playing five of the first seven PDL matches away from Valley Stadium, head coach Mike Jeffries’ side plays five of its last seven at home.
The team’s home schedule picks back up on June 21 against the Springfield Demize. The following weekend, the arch-rival Thunder Bay Chill – The PDL’s 2013 finalist – comes to town for a June 28-29 doubleheader. The second match of this weekend marks the Menace’s first-ever Sunday action at Valley Stadium.
Following a July 12 home date with the St. Louis Lions, the 21st season of Menace Soccer concludes with a Friday-Saturday double dip against WSA Winnipeg on July 18 and 19.
Jeffries returns for his second season in Des Moines, looking to improve upon a 6-6-2 PDL mark in 2013 – a year highlighted by the Menace’s first-ever match in a Major League Soccer venue: a 2-0 loss to eventual MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City on May 28.
Entering its 25th season, the PDL features four geographic conferences and 10 divisions. The Eastern and Western Conferences each comprise three divisions; the Central and Southern Conferences have two divisions a piece. Des Moines is part of the Heartland Division, which, alongside the Great Lakes Division, makes up the Central Conference. The PDL’s 2014 postseason spans the last weekend of July and the first weekend of August.
A couple Saturday matches at Des Moines’ Cownie Soccer Park will give fans the first glimpses of the 2014 team. The Menace has scheduled a May 3 scrimmage with Drake University and a May 10 exhibition against Imperio, the defending champion of the Des Moines International Soccer League.
May 31 Exhibition
The Menace’s first scheduled action at Valley Stadium is a May 31 exhibition against the Minnesota United FC Reserves, a newly announced professional team competing in the National Premier Soccer League. Coached by former Menace player Donny Mark, the reserves are part of an organization the Menace knows well: Des Moines has faced Minnesota United each of the last two years in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, including a dramatic, 1-0 win over the North American Soccer League side last May. Mark, a former professional player who suited up for the 2001 Menace, returns to Valley Stadium for the second straight year. In 2013, he was the head coach of the Twin Cities BK Voyageurs, who dropped a 2-1 exhibition to the Menace on June 29.
The team’s multi-ticket packages offer great value. Adult season tickets are $80, while youth season tickets (for ages 5-18) are only $20. While supplies last, adult season-ticket members receive a team-autographed ball. Benefits also include a free parking pass, admission to all home action (including exhibitions, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and PDL playoffs) and a flexible-exchange program.
Open Cup Streak Continues
The Menace will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the fifth-straight year – and ninth overall. The 2014 Open Cup begins in May, with first-round games scheduled for May 14, and the second round to follow two weeks later. To secure a berth in the 101-year-old national tournament, the Menace fielded a team in the United States Adult Soccer Association’s Region-II Tournament. With a pair of home wins in November, the Menace clinched the Open Cup berth. This team faces Schwaben AC for the regional title in the spring; the match will be played in April or May in a neutral site between Des Moines and Chicago.
21 Seasons and Counting
With a proud history that predates Major League Soccer, the Menace is one of the country’s longest continually running soccer teams. The Menace debuted in 1994 – two years before the launch of MLS – and has compiled a mark of 187-112-31 in 20 PDL seasons. The franchise has 11 appearances in the PDL playoffs and has secured nine berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. More than 70 Menace alumni have played professionally, with more than 25 playing for MLS teams.
Des Moines Menace 2014 PDL Schedule
Saturday, May 3 ^ Drake University 7:30 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Park
Saturday, May 10 # Imperio 7:30 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Park
Saturday, May 17 at Springfield Demize 7 p.m. at Cooper Complex
Sunday, May 25 at St. Louis Lions 5 p.m. at Tony Glavin Soccer Complex
Saturday, May 31 # MN United FC Reserves 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, June 7 Chicago Inferno 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, June 13 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 14 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 21 Springfield Demize 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Tuesday, June 24 at Chicago Inferno 7 p.m. at Wheaton College
Saturday, June 28 Thunder Bay Chill 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Sunday, June 29 Thunder Bay Chill 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 5 at WSA Winnipeg 6:30 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Sunday, July 6 at WSA Winnipeg 6:30 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Saturday, July 12 St. Louis Lions 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, July 18 WSA Winnipeg 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 19 WSA Winnipeg 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
All game times are central | ^ = Scrimmage | # = Exhibition
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 21st season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 64-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team played in the 2013 Women’s Premier Soccer League playoffs, after debuting as the Women’s League Soccer 2012 champions. 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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