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June 28, 2012
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Gooooaaaallll!

By Jared Curtis

Defensemen Taylor Diem chasses down the ball earlier this season. The Des Moines Menace will play the Springfield Demize at Valley Stadium on Saturday, June 30 starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and $7 for kids 12-and-under. For more information, visit www.menacesoccer.com.

Des Moines Menace strives to finish the season strong

Since 1994, the Des Moines Menace has been Iowa’s premier soccer team, providing fans with fast-paced, goal-scoring action. Iowa might not seem like a soccer destination, but Menace fans swarm to Valley Stadium each game, giving the franchise one of the highest home attendances in the Premier Development League.

“There has always been a great fan base in Des Moines, and we had the best attendance averages in the league for many years,” said head coach Laurie Calloway. “There is plenty of support, and the fans are excited about the team.”

The team is currently 5-3-2, and with a few more wins will be eligible for the playoffs. But it’s a tough road ahead.

“We’re in second place right now, and four of our last six games are against the Thunder Bay Chill, which is the team ahead of us,” Calloway said. “The opportunity for us to get into the playoffs is in our hands. If we can win out, we’ll make it in.”

The team is quite familiar with Thunder Bay, as they have become a division rival.

“The rivalry has been building the last few years. They have been a strong team, and we usually finish close behind them,” Calloway said. “But we have more to look out for as a lot of teams have improved and had strong showings this year.”

This is Calloway’s second stint with the Menace. In 2001, he led the team to an 11-7-2 record. The following year he coached the team to its best finish to date with a 15-0-3 record. After leaving the team after the end of 2002 season, Calloway returned in 2010. He became the Menace’s all-time wins leader this season with 49 victories.

“It was a nice accolade to break the record, and I never thought I would be in this position. It’s been a great run, and I want to thanks all of the coaches and players that helped me get here,” Calloway said. “I’ve coached nearly 500 games in my career, so it was an honor and privilege. But as a coach, I’d rather focus on winning championships and leagues than breaking records.”

The team is also working hard to build a younger base of players from Iowa. Currently the team only has three players from the state.

“With the recreational league and the women’s team, we’re hoping to develop more players from Iowa. Ideally we’d love to stock our team with Iowa players,” Calloway said. “Although Iowa is still in an infant stage of youth soccer, the interest is there, and numbers continue to grow.”

Calloway is focused on winning the teams remaining games and keeping the momentum going.

“Plain and simple, we have to go on the road and win some games if we are going to make the playoffs,” he said. “Our team is united and playing tough. But we won’t worry about the playoffs until we get there. Right now it’s just one game at a time.”

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Des Moines Menace schedule

Valley Stadium — 7:30 p.m.

June 30 — Springfield Demize

July 6 — Thunder Bay Chill

July 7 — Thunder Bay Chill

July 14 — Minnesota Stars FC



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