DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, June 6, 2014 – Winning the state cup once is hard. Lifting the trophy in back-to-back years is even more difficult. Outscoring your tournament foes by a 29-2 margin is simply exceptional.
For the second straight year, the Des Moines Menace Academy U14 boys won the Iowa State Cup in convincing fashion. On Sunday (June 1), the team celebrated a 2-0 win over Iowa City Alliance in the championship, by hoisting the trophy in front of family, friends and a few role models at Cownie Soccer Park.
With members of the Des Moines Menace’s Premier Development League team cheering on, the U14s proved why they received the No. 1 seed in the Iowa Soccer Association’s annual tournament. They opened their title defense on Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26) with dominant results – 7-0, 8-0 and 7-0.
“I feel we have a lot of players with creative minds,” head coach Tomas Boltnar said. “Some of the things that they see and some of the runs they make have made this a joy.”
In 2013, the group held opponents to four goals while putting away 23. In 2014, the defending champs improved on the performance, knocking in 29 goals, while goalkeeper Jake Vilez and the Menace defense stifled opponents to just two scores – both coming in the 5-2 semifinal victory over West Des Moines Soccer Club on May 31.
“It’s something we try work to on and average less than one goal allowed per game,” Boltnar said. “We really have a solid defense. It’s been a little work in progress to get the forwards to work on defense, but the defenders deserve credit with giving up just two goals.”
Leading the high-octane offense were Julius Cooper and Jordy Triana-Vasquez. Each scored once in the final and twice in the semifinal.
The state champions move on to U.S. Youth Soccer Regionals, held June 21-25 in Beaverdale, Ohio.
This year’s squad looks to improve on last year’s 1-1-1 record in regional group play in Des Moines. After opening with a comeback draw against the Toledo Celtics (Ohio-North), the Menace Academy found a finishing touch against Dakota Alliance Black (South Dakota), 4-0, before ending the tournament with a loss to the Minnesota Thunder Academy.
Boltnar’s crew has stepped up the competition in the past year, playing in the Midwest Regional League. The learning experience helped prepare for the Menace for playing on the bigger stage.
“Anytime you can play top teams from around the Midwest, we’re happy to do that and see what we can do to keep getting better,” Boltnar said.
Boltnar has coached three Menace Academy state champions in the last two years. His U18 boys won the title in October 2012.
Head coach: Tomas Boltnar
Assistant coach: Husref Jupic
Assistant coach: Jack Pearson
Team manager: Jim Caligiuri
ABOUT THE MENACE ACADEMY: The Des Moines Menace Youth Soccer Academy provides a fun and challenging soccer environment that allows players to grow as people and reach the best of their soccer abilities. The academy includes boys and girls teams ranging in age from U9 to U18. Players are from all over the Des Moines metro area, coming from diverse backgrounds. Academy members develop by learning skills and strategies at age-appropriate levels. Youth are exposed to the very best coaching and training on a consistent basis as they grow and mature.
The non-profit Menace Academy is part of the Des Moines Menace – Iowa’s premier men’s and women’s teams. The Menace promotes healthy lifestyles through popular youth programs that also include Junior Menace, camps, clinics and tournaments.