The Menace thanks Matt Kennedy for his long-time service. Story posted Jan. 9, 2018.
Matt Kennedy, a Menace Academy coach who has been a fixture in the central Iowa soccer scene for more than 20 years, is moving on to a new opportunity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Matt has accepted a coaching and administrative role with Triad Elite Soccer Club – an organization his late brother George started in 1979.
While we’re happy for Matt, we’re sad to see him go.
We would call Matt a pioneer for local soccer. After founding Bangu Soccer Club in Minneapolis, he moved to Iowa in 1991 to start Iowa United Soccer Club – the precursor to the Menace Academy. He guided Iowa United in its four years, and he came back to the club in 1999 after time with soccer organizations in Houston and San Diego.
In 2002, he was a catalyst for launching the Menace Academy, and he’s coached Academy teams from 2002 to 2005 and since 2013 in his second stint, following time with Vision Soccer Academy. Through the years, the grizzled veteran has grown on us, much like a fungus (these are Matt’s words – not ours, really).
As coaches, players, families and referees will attest, Matt is unapologetically rough around the edges. His commitment to coaching with a “tough love” approach has, at times, pushed and challenged players outside of their comfort zones.
And, with a big heart, he has helped them grow as athletes and people. In so many selfless ways, Matt has gone the extra mile for the greater good, and he’s a shining example of the Menace’s mission to grow soccer.
Matt has also served, off and on, as an assistant coach and goalkeeping coach with the Menace’s Premier Development League team. He was a pro goalie from 1979 to 1988, with stops in the North American Soccer League, American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. The guy's a legend, and he even has his own Wikipedia page.
When we forced Matt to provide us a farewell quote, here’s what he came up with:
“In my time here, I’ve experienced my fair share of success and heartbreak, as well as many great relationships – friendships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I’d like to thank the Menace Soccer Family and the community for all the wonderful memories. I consider Des Moines my home. I wish you all continued soccer, and in all you do!”
Thanks for all your contributions, Matt, and best wishes in North Carolina. You’ve always got a soccer family here in Iowa.