Independence's Mo Carnahan helps Kansas City Athletics snag 15U Elite Clubs Regional League national title
Mo Carnahan is a soccer force to be reckoned with.
The home-schooled forward enjoyed a stellar summer season with the Kansas City Athletics club in the 15U ECRL (Elite Clubs Regional League).
That led to an invitation to join the Athletics ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) team, for which she played a key role in that squad winning the girls 15U ECNL national title.
"It was quite a summer," said her father, Tom. "A lot of travel, a lot of nervous moments and so much pride – I could not be any prouder of Mo than I am. She had a great summer and we enjoyed every minute of it."
Although he admitted, "I think I had a bit less gray hair, but that's all right. It was worth it."
Mo, an Independence resident who will be a high school freshman, scored the tying goal in a 1-1 match that allowed her team to finish first in its group in the ECNL Girls National Finals in Florida and advance to bracket play in Richmond, Virginia, where the tournament was moved because of Hurricane Elsa.
She also played a role in the winning goal in the national championship game on July 18 in Richmond, as she took a shot that was headed into the net by teammate Mary Long in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Surf that none of the Carnahan family will ever forget.
"She scored that tying goal with about two minutes left in the game that allowed her team to advance," her father said, "and she was involved in second goal in the 2-1 win with a little less than two minutes.
"And they won a game on a PK (penalty kick, which Mo was not involved in). It was so exciting. Being the top team in the nation was surreal. It was hard to believe, and it was so exciting for these girls winning such a major event and all the comes with that."
Athletics ECNL head coach Vasil Ristov said Carnahan’s play was invaluable in the national championship run.
“Mo had a big impact on the team and was a very important piece of the puzzle for us during the national tournament,” he said. “Besides scoring goals she also assisted a few, but most importantly gave it all out for her team on and off the ball."
Mo was thrilled to be invited to join the Athletics in what is largely considered the top youth soccer league in the nation when her ECRL club team's season ended.
"I wondered how the girls would accept me," said Mo, which is short for Moriah. "After all, I was on another team during the season and here I was joining their team for the biggest games. But it was like I was part of their family right away. It took a few girls a little while to really make me feel welcome, but once we started playing, we were a family, a family that won a national championship."
Ristov said Carnahan was ready to make the jump to the elite level.
“Calling Mo up to the ECNL team was something that I knew it was right and it felt right to do it,” Ristov said. “Obviously having Mo at our club for several seasons and seen her grow as a player throughout the last few seasons, I knew it was just a matter of time before it had happened to her.”
Carnahan will continue to play for the ECNL squad next season, and Ristov is happy to have her back.
“All her hard work and dedication paid off, but knowing Mo and her mentality, I know she won’t be satisfied and will continue to work hard in order to reach personal goals, but also help our team repeat the national title run again,” Ristov said. “Her desire to learn and execute the directions given to her on the pitch are some of the best I have seen. She is hungry motivated and gets it done.
“... Mo is an amazing in every aspect and she is well respected and liked by all her teammates, and every coach wishes to have a kid like Mo on the team.”
While Mo has been home-schooled, her father said there is a chance she might attend Fort Osage High School this fall.
"We're looking into it, and haven't made a decision," he said. "I know there are some classes she could take and play for the team, even if she is still home-schooled."
Mo will be happy either way.
"I have met so many wonderful people playing soccer," she said. "I'll be happy whatever happens."