Carlos Mercado made this save in the Menace's July 20 playoff win at Valley Stadium. Photo credit: Jayde Vogeler
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, July 31, 2018 – While Kino Ryosuke was skillfully scoring goals, Carlos Mercado was proficiently preventing them.
They led the Menace to the Premier Development League’s 2018 regular-season title, and they are part of the All-Central Conference team, announced today by league officials.
Ryosuke led the 74-team PDL with 37 points, the output of 17 goals and three assists. He logged a team-leading 1,211 minutes in the nearly perfect 13-0-1 season.
Mercado secured five shutouts and 21 saves in eight appearances during the season. He shined in a suspenseful shootout win on July 20, lunging to his left to bat away back-to-back kicks from the mark; the Menace got by visiting Lansing to advance to the Central Conference Championship.
Ryosuke, a native of Hyogo, Japan, joins Louisville after two stellar years at Marshalltown Community College. Mercado, from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, enters his freshman season at Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
A couple Menace mainstays – midfielder Audi Jepson (six goals, six assists) and seventh-year Des Moines defender Brandon Fricke (an all-conference selection in 2013 and 2017) – received all-conference honorable mention.
Tucker Stephenson, a member of the 2017 Menace who scored nine goals this season for Kaw Valley FC, is on the 2018 all-conference team. Luke Haakenson, also from the 2017 Menace, earned honorable mention after collecting a team-best nine points (three goals, three assists) for Chicago FC United – the team that eliminated the Menace from the postseason on July 21.
A representative from each team voted on the postseason honors, which are based on regular-season performance. Teams are allowed to vote only on players within their respective divisions.
The Central Conference comprises the Heartland Division (including the Menace) and the Great Lakes Division.
GK – Carlos Mercado, Des Moines Menace
D – Grant Stoneman, Chicago FC United
D – Ebenezer Ackon, Lansing United
D – Mark Da Silva Lindstrom, Cincinnati Dutch Lions
M – Tate Robertson, Dayton Dutch Lions
M – Luka Prpa, Chicago FC United
M – Brad Dunwell, Michigan Bucks
M – Kyle Carr, Lansing United
F – Kino Ryosuke, Des Moines Menace
F – Tucker Stephenson, Kaw Valley FC
F – Austin Ricci, Michigan Bucks
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. The Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace women’s team is part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). With loyal support, the Menace men’s and women’s teams play their home games at the Valley Stadium in West Des Moines to provide family-fun entertainment. The Menace organization promotes the growth of soccer through these youth programs: Junior Menace (ages 3-9), Menace Academy (ages six and older), and tournaments, camps and clinics.