Mike Matkovich is on board for the Menace's 2015 PDL season. Photo credit: Chicago Fire Soccer Club
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 – With six years’ experience in Major League Soccer and six more as the leader of one of the Premier Development League’s most successful teams, Mike Matkovich brings an extensive résumé to the Des Moines Menace.
Menace owner Kyle Krause this afternoon announced Matkovich as the ninth head coach in franchise history.
“I’d like to thank Kyle and Matt (Homonoff) for this opportunity,” Matkovich said. “I’m excited to be part of a team with a rich PDL tradition and excited to bring another title back to Des Moines. I’m looking forward to working with the players and building a new tradition moving forward.”
Matkovich comes to the Menace from the Chicago Fire. He served as the MLS side’s “first assistant coach” in 2012-13 and as the Fire’s second assistant in 2009 -10. He started his MLS career as an assistant coach with Toronto FC (2007) and Chivas USA (2008).
The Chicagoland native has a track record of success in the PDL – the league the Menace has competed in since 1994. “Matko” was the Fire PDL team’s head coach for a stellar stretch from 2002 to 2006. During these years, the team racked up a dazzling 71-8-7 record, won its division every season and finished second in the 2003 playoffs.
During this dominant PDL run, Matkovich coached future U.S. World Cup players Jay DeMerit, Ricardo Clark and Brad Guzan, as well as several future MLS mainstays. In these years, the Fire’s PDL entry comprised some of the top college players from across the country.
When Matkovich returned to lead the Fire PDL team last year, he took over a team with a very different makeup. The Fire in recent years has made a concerted move to focus its PDL roster on developing homegrown talent from its youth academy. Matkovich’s 2014 squad started the PDL season 7-2-2 before dropping its final three matches and losing a postseason berth to K-W United, the Canadian team the Menace knocked out of the playoffs.
The Menace won the league’s 2014 regular-season championship and clinched the team’s sixth straight (and 10th overall) berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Homonoff, the organization’s general manager, believes Matkovich will build on this success and take the team to the next level.
“During our selection process, Coach Matkovich distinguished himself both with his history of producing winning teams as well as his ability to develop top players for the professional game,” said Homonoff. “We are excited to welcome him to Des Moines and are confident we now have the man in place to lead our team into a successful new season this May.”
The Menace’s new head coach also carries impressive credentials from the game’s youth levels.
From 2009 to 2012, Matkovich was the head coach of the United States’ U18 national team. From 1996 to 2008, he was a regional and national staff coach for the United States Soccer Federation, working with the U14, U15 and U20 national teams.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America named Matkovich the 2000 Adidas Youth Boys National Coach of the Year. In Matkovich’s time leading the Chicago Magic (1989-2008) and the Chicago Fire Juniors (2011-present), his teams have won national titles in U.S. Youth Soccer (two), U.S. Club Soccer (four) and the United Soccer Leagues’ Super-Y League (eight).
Matkovich is the Menace’s third straight head coach with MLS ties. He fills a vacancy left by Mike Jeffries, a former Dallas Burn head coach and Chicago Fire assistant coach who left the Menace after two seasons to take the top job with the Charlotte Independence USL-PRO expansion team. Before Jeffries, Laurie Calloway, a former San Jose Clash head coach, guided the Menace for five seasons (2001-02 and 2010-12).
Already in recruiting mode, Matkovich is putting together the pieces for the Menace’s title defense. Players interested in suiting up for the team are invited to the 2015 Menace Open Tryout, to be led by Matkovich on April 25 at Valley Stadium, the team’s home field in West Des Moines.
Michael (Mike) Matkovich
Born: Nov. 9, 1962 in Naperville, Ill.
Coaching Licenses: NSCAA Advanced National Diploma (1995); USSF National “A” Coaching License (1993); USSF National “Youth” Coaching License (1996)
Education: B.A., Illinois Benedictine College (1987, Physical Education); B.A., Lewis University (1985, Business Administration).
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 65-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.
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