The United States Men’s National Team made an exciting run in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, winning Group C in pool play. The Americans played England and Slovenia to draws before finishing with a thrilling, late-game goal from Landon Donovan to push past Algeria. The team eventually bowed out in the Round of 16 against Ghana, but not without leading for most of the game.
Scouting reports helped give United States head coach Bob Bradley an edge in South Africa. One of the people feeding him the ins-and-outs of opposing teams was none other than Des Moines Menace head coach Mike Jeffries.
Bradley and the United States Men’s National Team signed Jeffries to be a scout for the 2010 World Cup. By the time the Americans’ run in the tournament ended, Jeffries had scouted nine games.
The back-to-back nature of the pool play schedule made it difficult for Jeffries to see the United States in action. Jeffries watched USA draw with England from the crowd in the United States’ opening game in Rustenburg.
“In a weird way, I loved the U.S.-England game,” said Jeffries. “It was the only chance I had to see a U.S. game. But the best game was still U.S.-Algeria. I remember watching United States and Algeria from a hotel bar. I made a four-hour drive to watch Ghana right after the game, and I would have been making a four-hour trip back if we didn’t score.”
In his second year as coach of the Menace, he holds an 11-7-2 record through six games in the 2014 season. Before the Menace, he spent more than 10 years with Major League Soccer teams, including three seasons as an assistant to Bradley at the Chicago Fire (1998-2000). During its first three seasons, the Fire won the U.S. Open Cup twice (1998, 2000) and the MLS Cup once (1998).
“It was probably the hardest interview I’ve ever had,” said Jeffries. “We knew each other before, just peripherally though. I got the job and we got to know each other really well over the next three years while at Chicago together.”
The two reunited before the World Cup and Jeffries, along with Lubos Kubik (whose son of the same name is in his third season with the Menace), worked with Bradley to help get the United States wins in the World Cup.
Jeffries is no stranger to the national-team circuit. During his playing career, Jeffries made three United States National Team appearances. The 1983 winner of the Hermann Trophy – collegiate soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy – played from 1984-1985 for the U.S.
He may have since put away his scouting notes and playing boots, but that has not stopped him from cheering for the United States. Jeffries and the Menace have been seen at local watch parties and will make another appearance at the USA-Germany watch party on Thursday (June 24) at Legends Bar and Grill (50th and Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines).
The Menace is in action for 7:30 p.m. games at Valley Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
Video and story by Matthew DeWitt