Brandon Fricke (8) is the 35th Menace player drafted by a Major League Soccer team. Photo credit: Art Schramm
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015 – When he was only 18, Brandon Fricke saw his first action with the Des Moines Menace. The Grimes native became a Menace mainstay, logging nearly 5,000 minutes from 2010 to 2014. He captained his hometown side the last couple seasons, scoring two of the most memorable goals in franchise history.
His journey continues in Major League Soccer. The Colorado Rapids selected Fricke yesterday with the 83rd pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
The 35th Menace alum to be drafted by an MLS team, Fricke has made more than 50 appearances with the Menace. He has anchored stifling Menace defenses and grown as a leader while preparing for this opportunity in the pros.
Also drafted in yesterday's fourth round was Kalen Ryden, who appeared in 11 matches with the 2010 Menace. With the 69th selection, the Columbus Crew called on Ryden, a Midwestern State (Texas) defender from Norman, Okla.
At least one Menace player has been drafted by an MLS team in 13 of the last 14 years; 2011 is the exception. Every Menace team for the last 17 seasons (1998-2014) has featured at least one MLS draft pick.
Yesterday’s news potentially reunites Fricke with former Menace head coach Mike Jeffries, who last fall accepted the head job with the Charlotte Independence, the Rapids’ new USL-PRO affiliate.
An all-PDL selection in 2013, Fricke has built an impressive résumé off the field. Fricke, who graduated last month from Butler University with an engineering degree, was selected to the 2014 NCAA Division-I academic all-America first team. He was a second-team academic all-America selection in 2013.
Fricke has scored four goals in 48 Premier Development League regular-season matches, and he has delivered the scores that stand out as the highlights from the last two seasons. In May 2013, his late header goal sent the Menace past Minnesota United FC. The 1-0 upset win set the stage for a third-round matchup with eventual MLS Cup champ Sporting Kansas City in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
In July 2014, Fricke’s heroics vaulted the Menace to its first PDL Playoff win since 2009. In a shootout following 120 scoreless minutes, the Menace knocked K-W United from the postseason. Fricke stepped to the mark, made good on his decisive kick and was mobbed by teammates and fans.
Colorado has drafted a Menace product each of the last three years. Fricke is preceded by a pair of his former Menace teammates: Deshorn Brown (2013) and Albert Edward (2014). Brown, who starred for the 2011 Menace, has led Colorado with 10 goals in each of his first two MLS seasons.
With their first selection (14th overall), the Rapids chose a former Menace foe – Marquette defender Axel Sjoberg, who was part of the 2012-13 Thunder Bay Chill. This year’s SuperDraft was split between two days, with the first two rounds (40 picks) announced in Philadelphia last Thursday (Jan. 15). Yesterday’s 44 selections were conducted via conference call.
The 2015 MLS season begins in March. The Menace’s PDL season starts in May, and the organization will announce the schedule in the coming weeks.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 22nd season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 64-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team, preparing for its fourth season, is part of the 80-team Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). From May to July, 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.