Mark McKeever is the 11th head coach in franchise history. Photo credit: Young Harris College
DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 – The Des Moines Menace’s new head coach brings a winning record from his experiences in the Premier Development League and college soccer.
Mark McKeever will lead the Menace into the franchise’s 26th season. Team owner Kyle Krause today announced the Motherwell, Scotland native has signed a two-year agreement with the club.
McKeever has spent the last four summers in the PDL – rebranded this offseason as USL League Two. Highlights from his four seasons as the Mississippi Brilla’s head coach include runs to the Final Four in 2017 and the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2018.
As the head of the men’s program at Young Harris College (Georgia) since 2005, he has compiled a 187-65-14 record. Young Harris forged a perfect record in the 2018 regular season; the top-ranked Mountain Lions lost in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
“I’m excited to work with Mark. He is an accomplished and seasoned coach who brings a lot of energy and a significant eye for talent,” Menace general manager Tiley Nunnink said. “Mark has earned the reputation amongst the professional ranks as a guy who identifies and develops top talent.
“There’s always a strong pool of candidates vying for this position, and I’m grateful for all the engaging conversations I’ve had with all during the selection process. It’s important to our organization to connect the dots with professional clubs for our players, and Mark is extremely well-respected and connected with the pros.”
After a standout collegiate career as a striker at Tyler Community College (Texas) and Christian Brother University (Tennessee), McKeever signed a pro contract with the Nashville Metros in 2002.
Unfortunately, the A-League team ceased operations before that season. So McKeever joined the Memphis Express – a PDL expansion club in the Menace’s conference.
“I remember playing against the Menace. It was a tremendous environment – maybe 3,000 or 4,000 fans in the stands when we came to Des Moines. I’ve been watching the Menace closely ever since. They’re one of the best amateur organizations in the country.”
The Menace looks to continue its streak of five straight postseason berths. Des Moines has made 16 appearances in the playoffs, including last season’s trip to the quarterfinals after clinching the regular-season crown with an undefeated, 13-0-1 record.
The 2019 season will begin in May with the franchise’s 13th appearance in the U.S. Open Cup.
“This is a team that has the resources to be very successful, and I want to help the Menace continue on the successful path. I want everybody in Des Moines to be proud of our team. I want to add to that history and do something special in the community.”
McKeever replaces Alen Marcina, who last fall accepted an opportunity to return to the pros after one season with the Menace. Marcina is an assistant coach with San Antonio FC of the newly renamed United Soccer League Championship.
Born: April 25, 1977 in Motherwell, Scotland
Wife: Bethany (Married October 2011)
Children: Son Leyton McKeever and stepson Kel Crawford
Education: Christian Brothers University (2002 bachelor's degree in psychology and 2005 master’s degree in education)
Start of coaching career: Graduate assistant at Christian Brothers University, 2003-05
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Preparing for its 26th season, the Menace men’s team competes in USL (United Soccer Leagues) League Two (formerly known as the Premier Development League). The Menace organization provides the growth of the game of soccer in Iowa with their youth soccer programs, including Junior Menace (ages 3-9), Menace Youth Academy (ages six and older), and youth tournaments, camps and clinics.