Cedar Rapids Rampage tab Jonathan Greenfield third coach in franchise history

Indoor soccer veteran will play and coach during 2017-18 Major Arena Soccer League season

Cedar Rapids defender Jonathan Greenfield challenges Milwaukee forward Robert Renaud (8) during a Major Arena Soccer League soccer game between the Cedar Rapids Rampage and Milwaukee Wave at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids defender Jonathan Greenfield challenges Milwaukee forward Robert Renaud (8) during a Major Arena Soccer League soccer game between the Cedar Rapids Rampage and Milwaukee Wave at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Throughout his indoor soccer career, Jonathan Greenfield has long been considered an attractive coaching candidate.

While offers have arrived before, the latest opportunity with the Cedar Rapids Rampage convinced the South Africa native that now was the time.

Greenfield, 35, was named coach of the third-year Major Arena Soccer League franchise at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to get together and work with this group,” Greenfield said. “And try and make some changes that possibly last year was a detriment to us falling short at the end of the day.”

Greenfield scored two goals and collected seven assists in 15 games last year with the Rampage. He succeeds Hewerton Moreira, who was named coach of the St. Louis Ambush Aug. 29 after leading Cedar Rapids to a 12-8 record last season.

Like Moreira, Greenfield will continue to play for the Rampage, but stresses it will strictly be a secondary role to his coaching duties.

“I’ve played for 14 years,” said Greenfield, who turned down a chance to coach the Milwaukee Wave in 2014. “I’ve enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. Somewhere along the line, the last few years, the motivation and the drive has been different for me. I think it’s time for the young guys to really get the opportunity.”

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The Rampage return a host of productive players like midfielder Gordy Gurson (23 goals, 10 assists), forward Tony Walls (17 goals, two assists), defender Pablo Da Silva (nine goals, 19 assists) and goalkeeper Brett Petricek. The club also signed free-agent forward Taylor Bond (40 goals, 14 assists) from Chicago.

“We’ve built that foundation,” Cedar Rapids General Manager Chris Kokalis said. “I wanted to find someone that could take that next step, which ultimately for us is the postseason.”

Da Silva, 37, will also serve as assistant coach and more could be named at a later date.

Players will report to training camp Sept. 24. The MASL season schedule is expected to be released this week, which should announce a late-October start to the regular season.

The franchise continues its search for a coach to lead the Rampage United outdoor team next summer, the first following the merger of the Premier League of America into the Midwest Conference of the United Premier Soccer League, an outfit that numbers nearly 100 squads from coast to coast.

“It’s huge for us,” Kokalis said. “It provides a lot of opportunities for our players, a lot of exposure for the game here in Eastern Iowa. I don’t think it’s really sunk in too much with some of the soccer folks how big of a move joining a league like the USPL is.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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