The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that the
Joplin Demize (Joplin, MO) have joined the league as an expansion team.
“The NPSL is looking forward to bringing high level soccer to the great
city of Joplin, Missouri,” NPSL Commissioner Michael Hitchcock remarked.
“One of the goals of NPSL is to grow the game of soccer in every city in
the U.S. so we’re excited to help inspire local youth players to reach
their potential while providing soccer fans with a team to support in
their own backyard.”
The Demize are led by the Hershewe family. Owners Ed and Alison Hershewe,
who operate a prominent law firm in Joplin, are known for their passionate
commitment to Joplin and its surrounding communities. They view this
venture as an opportunity to develop soccer on both sides of the spectrum,
including the youth game at the recreational and competitive levels.
Chris Hanlon will serve as Director of Soccer Operations in addition to
serving on the coaching staff with Armen Tonianse, Luis Percovich, and
Hanlon was a standout goalkeeper with the University of Pittsburgh before
moving on to play with the Sioux City Breeze, Des Moines Menace,
Springfield Storm, Springfield Demize, and Saint Louis Steamers. He has
served in a variety of roles on the coaching and management side of the
game, including time as a general manager, head coach, operations
director, and director of coaching. Hanlon holds the National, Advanced
National, and Premier Diploma with the NSCAA.
Tonianse, a USSF “C” licensed coach, was a top player at Division I
Western Illinois University before playing with the Thunder Bay Chill,
leading them to a franchise record for wins in 2003 and 2004. Percovich, a
graduate of William Woods University, starred for both the St. Louis Lions
and the Springfield Demize.
Hudson, who will serve as the team’s Technical Director, was named First
Team All-American during a national championship season at Richland
College in 2004. He would go on to play with the Austin Aztex and DFW
Tornados before heading to Europe to sign a pro contract with Belgian side
Royal Racing FC. He would return to the U.S. to sign with the Milwaukee
Wave (MISL) and Texas Outlaws (PASL-Pro).
The Demize were also quick to credit the work of Chris Cotten, Director of
the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department, as a key part of the project.
“We are very excited to be a part of the NPSL,” Hanlon declared. “The
amount of growth that the league has shown over the last two years is
impressive and to have the chance to play in a national league where we
can highlight college players in the southwest Missouri area and provide
an outlet to continue to develop soccer in the area, is intriguing.”
Home games will be played at The Joplin Athletic Facility on the new
Hershewe Stadium field. It features a lighted Bermuda grass field, covered
seating for home and away fans, a press box, and full concessions.
Players from Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Illinois expect to
make up the talent pool for the Demize. Players from local colleges like
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Neosho, Southwest Baptist University, Crowder,
and Missouri Valley will now have a place to showcase their talents. The
organization will continue to bring in top international talent to round
out their roster.