WIth 195 participants -- an increase of 30 from a year ago -- the 2016 Menace Champions League was the largest yet. Photo credit: Somkong Vong
DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, March 8, 2016 – Nearly 200 members of the Des Moines Menace Academy competed in the 2016 Menace Champions League (MCL). The ninth season of this winter league started in January and concluded on Sunday at the Jacobson Exhibition Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
With a record 195 participants, MCL 2016 was split into three divisions. The U11-U13 division’s regular-season games were played at Veritas Ventures in Grimes; the U14-U15 and the U16+ divisions’ games were played at Central Campus in Des Moines and Valley Community Center in West Des Moines. The regular season standings are posted here.
“I’m very pleased with the growth of the Champions League and the fun, competitive environment we create for all players,” said Menace Academy director of coaching Tomas Boltnar. “I love the interaction within the age groups and our players getting to know other friends in the club.”
Three teams, including a pair of underdogs, lifted their MCL champion trophies on Sunday:
· In the U11-U13 final, Real Madrid, seeded fifth out of six teams, defeated Barcelona 2-0 with two goals from Tate McDermott (U11). Real Madrid finished the regular season with only six points, but, “came together as a team and was able to utilize the larger field,” said team MVP Xavier Davis (U12).
· Arsenal, which finished last in the four-team U14-U15 table, defeated Real Madrid 2-1 in the final. “The key was our ability to connect passes and work together,” said Derek Holmes (U15) when asked how the team won. Arsenal MVP Richard Martinez (U15) added, “We had a very tough regular season but stuck together and really showed up to play today.”
· The coach and staff team, Juventus, conquered Manchester City 2-1 in the intense U16+ final. Juventus beat the top seed, Barcelona, in a penalty shootout in the semifinals to advance and eventually win it all.
U11-U13 champion: Real Madrid
Congratulations to the champions and these individuals:
Real Madrid (U11-U13): Kylee Albright, Jaaziel Aquino, Xavier Davis, Asher Ekhardt, Ajdin Hasanic, Ryan Huang, Cyrus Khosravi, Meredith McDermott, Tate McDermott, Jasmin Omerasevic, Cal Pennington, Marco Vasquez and Bobby Wilmoth.
Arsenal (U14-U15): Jimmy Alba, Kevin Flores, Jonathan Gonzalez, Derek Holmes, Cooper Kissell, Anthony Martinez, Richard Martinez, Matthew Palen, Eric Paniagua, Christian Rodriquez, Imanol Saldana and Anthony Vidal Velasco.
Juventus (U16+): Joe Arreola, Marco Arreola, Raul Cunarro Rodriguez, JR Fernades, Alex Fonseca, Sean Hoek, Matt Homonoff, Lyle Hunt, Husref Jupic, Dennis Kadic, Matt Lamale, Jack Pearson, Nicole Pearson, Ken Sadler and Arnoldo Valdez.
Most Valuable Player: Lelong Miyeng, Manchester City
Team MVPs: Xavier Davis, Real Madrid; Jonathan Castaneda, Bayern Munich; Josh Barron, Manchester City; Tonatiuh Merlos-Rojas, Juventus; Gage Jodoin, PSG; Kendall Bickford, Barcelona
Best Goalkeeper: Jayson Kunkel
U14-U15 chamnpion: Arsenal -- Photo credit: Angela Holmes
Most Valuable Player: Josue Marquez, Atletico Madrid
Team MVPs: Richard Martinez, Arsenal; Micah Sarlat-Pool, Real Madrid; Hazer Becic, Atletico Madrid; Fernando Meza, Chelsea
No individual awards were given for the oldest age group.
Thanks to all who were part of the excitement of MCL 2016!
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.