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Andy Gruenebaum's return to Des Moines

The most accomplished goalkeeper in Menace history shared his experiences at a July 7 clinic at Valley Stadium. Photos by Joe Sprunger
 
 
When Andy Grunebaum first drove to Des Moines to play for the Menace in 2005, he didn’t think he’d stay the entire summer.
 
“I thought I’d do a few training sessions, maybe play a few games and then head back to Kansas City,” Grunebaum said.
 
After a few games, though, Grunebaum didn’t say goodbye to Des Moines. The goalkeeper decided to stay for a little longer, until he and the Menace won the Premier Development League championship in a shootout over the El Paso Patriots.
 
“Thank goodness I stayed because it was one of the most fun and best summers I’ve ever had,” Grunebaum said. “Winning a championship with that team was so memorable and special.”
 
His favorite part of the 2005 team was the companionship the players formed. Playing on a PDL team is unique, Grunebaum said, because players from all over come together and immediately start playing together for the summer.
 
 
Gruenebaum with Menace goalies Jake Leeker (right) and Kyle Ihn (left)
 
 
“So many things have to go right for a PDL team to win a championship,” Grunebaum said. “You have to quickly strengthen each other up and build a family.
 
“It brought a certain element of pride because you’re coming from this school or town and you have to represent it, but also you realize you’re coming together for one common goal. We gelled so well that year and build up this great friendship.”
 
The championship game’s Most Valuable Player went back to the University of Kentucky for his senior season, and he was drafted by the Columbus Crew with the third pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft in early 2006. He went on to play eight years with the Crew, including in 2008, when the Crew won the MLS Cup. In 2014, Grunebaum played his final MLS year with his hometown team, Sporting Kansas City.
 
Today, Grunebaum runs AG30, a goalkeeper training business in Kansas City. On Friday, he came back to Des Moines to run an AG30 clinic in the morning. He also made an appearance at the Menace’s friendly against Sporting Kansas City U23.
 
 
A group photo from Friday's clinic
 
 
“It feels great to be back,” Grunebaum said. “I always have the Menace on the mind because it was such a big part of my life, winning a championship here. I always cherish coming back.”
 
Grunebaum credits the Menace for helping him propel his career and encouraged the players at his clinic Friday to keep the Academy, WPSL and PDL teams in mind as they grow older.
 
“The support here was massive when I was here, and I know it’s still huge now,” Grunebaum said. “What the Menace has built here is unlike any other PDL team, I can tell you that.”
 
 
An autograph for a young fan at the Menace's Friday-night friendly
 
 
This story by Anne Rogers was posted Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
 
 
 


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