WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – May 7, 2009 – The 16th season of Des Moines Menace soccer gets underway this Saturday, when Casey Mann’s team hosts the Rochester (Minn.) Thunder – one of two expansion clubs in the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division.
The Menace and the Thunder kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium. It is the inaugural PDL match for Rochester, an affiliate of the USL-1 Minnesota Thunder. It is also the first of four U.S. Open Cup qualifying matches that each team will play this month.
Mann, in his fifth year as the Menace’s head coach, said he does not know what to expect of the Rochester Thunder and the Real Colorado Foxes, a team the Menace welcomes to town the following Saturday (May 16).
“That’s one thing about the PDL – it’s hard to prepare, especially early in the season,” Mann said. “We can only prepare ourselves.”
Mann is hard at it, trying to mold a team that is bringing new players into the mix each day while trying to find the right chemistry.
“Early on, it’s all about grinding it out,” Mann explained. “The key is finding guys who understand our expectations, finding a group of guys who understand each other.”
The team was dealt a setback this week with the news that Dan Williams will not be with the team to start the season. Williams, who tended goal for the Menace in all 16 matches a year ago, will join the team in June.
Sean Molony, a goalkeeper for Colorado Rapids U-23 last year, steps into this role for Des Moines. He is joined by another former Rapids player, Jacob Schmoker, giving the Menace a pair of PDL veterans and former rivals.
Mann is looking to Molony, Schmoker and Ross Moffat to provide leadership for a team that welcomes several new faces in the coming week.
Moffat, a fifth-year Menace player and former Grand View standout, is not the only local player on the team. This year’s roster is dotted with five players from Sean Holmes’ nationally ranked Drake squad: Julien Edwards, Nick Foster, Hunter Kennedy, Thomas Ostrander and Michael Thaden.
UP NEXT:This Saturday’s Mother’s Day celebration is presented by Airheads candy. Moms get in free with the purchase of a child’s ticket, and they receive carnations from Classic Floral Design. All women are invited to participate in the Diamond Dig, presented by Charles Ganske and InFocus Partners. The first 500 fans receive Menace cowbells.
The Menace sees its first road action on Wednesday (May 13). After playing the Springfield Demize at Cooper Complex in Springfield, Mo., the team returns to Valley Stadium on May 16 to host the Real Colorado Foxes.