Head coach Justin Vorster and the Menace started the season 3-1-1 before finishing in third place after a pair of home losses closed the schedule. Photos by Joe Sprunger
At the beginning of summer, a new group of strangers became the Des Moines Menace’s Women’s Premier League Soccer team.
By the end of the season, the team had turned into a family, and the strangers had turned into friends.
For Menace head coach Justin Vorster, this year’s sense of comradery has been better than ever before.
“In the past, players haven’t been forthcoming in becoming friends, but this year, it wasn’t a problem,” Vorster said. “All the players were coachable, there were no huge egos and everything was built around a team atmosphere.”
Despite a 3-3-2 record, Vorster and his team embraced the challenge of facing a first-year team that dominated during the regular season. The GSI Pride (from Kansas City) swept the region with a perfect 8-0-0 record and clinched the Heartland’s playoff spot.
“GSI added to the competition to the region and it was good for everyone,” Vorster said. “You had to go out and win every game.”
Here’s a month-by-month recap of the Menace’s 2017 WPSL season:
- The WPSL season kicked off in Grimes on June 4, when the Menace hosted the Kansas City Courage. Des Moines struck first with Elise White’s left-footed finish in the 58th minute, but the lead turned into a deficit in less than 10 minutes later. Ann Marie Jaworski’s stoppage-time equalizer (above; Jaworski is No. 11) gifted the Menace a 2-2 tie.
- Des Moines’ first win of the season came one week later in Indianola. The Menace hosted the Minnesota TwinStars, and goals from Whitney Sharpe and Rebecca Rodgers (2) put Des Moines on top, 3-1.
- On June 17-18, a Kansas City road trip ended in Splitsville for the Menace. In a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader, the Meance won 2-0 against the Kansas City Courage and lost 3-0 to the GSI Pride the next day. Goals from Rebecca Rodgers and Jermaine Seoposenwe on Saturday highlighted the weekend.
- The road schedule continued with a mid-week matchup in Minnesota on June 21. The second half sparked Des Moines, as Elise White and Rebecca Rodgers netted goals in the 2-0 win.
- After a two-week lull in the WPSL schedule, the Menace women hit the road for the final time on July 8. In Chicago, Des Moines led 1-0 after Rebecca Rodgers (7, above) scored her team-best fifth goal of the season. The Red Stars Reserves equalized in the 80th minute, and the Menace walked away with a draw.
- In the last weekend of the regular season, the Menace dropped a pair to the region’s top teams. Chicago won the rematch 2-0 on July 15 at Valley Stadium, and the GSI Pride dealt the Menace a 4-1 defeat in the last game of the season on July 16 in Urbandale. Jermaine Seoposenwe scored her second goal of the season to avoid the shutout.
Looking into next season, Vorster hopes to keep building the family atmosphere and establishing the team in the community.
“I want to continue to strengthen the squad around the youth,” he said. “I’d like to continue to build our relationship within the community. I enjoyed going into different communities and playing. It builds that culture.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed coaching the girls. The competition made it tough for us, but we had a great time regardless and I look forward to next year.”
Thanks to Vorster, assistant coaches Ross Alexander, Hugo Machedo and Alex Fonseca, their players, the Menace’s 2017 intern team, our fans and sponsors and all those whose work behind the scenes contributed to the success of the franchise’s sixth season providing the highest level of women’s soccer in Iowa.
FINAL RESULTS, 2017 MENACE
(3-3-2; 1-2-1 home, 2-1-1 away)
Sunday, June 4 Kansas City Courage T, 2-2
Sunday, June 11 Minnesota TwinStars W, 3-1
Saturday, June 17 at Kansas City Courage W, 2-0
Sunday, June 18 at GSI Pride L, 0-3
Wednesday, June 21 at Minnesota TwinStars W, 2-0
Saturday, July 8 at Chicago Red Stars Reserves T, 1-1
Saturday, July 15 Chicago Red Stars Reserves L, 0-2
Sunday, July 16 GSI Pride L, 1-4
This story by Anne Rogers was posted Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.