Local girl, national dream

CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat Santa Rosa United coach Paul Dixon calls Katie Mohr, above, “one of the top forwards in the whole state.”

ERIC BRANCH

The Press Democrat

When it comes to soccer, Guy and Kelly Mohr have never had to push, prod, cajole or plead with their daughter, Katie.

They have, however, had to occasionally deliver one edict: Enough.

“Sometimes you do have to be a parent and say ‘OK, it’s time to come in,’” Kelly Mohr said with a laugh.

Katie Mohr, a soon-to-be sophomore at Maria Carrillo, is still seven days away from her 15th birthday. But her passion for the sport has already paid off — in a way she couldn’t have imagined a few weeks ago.

Mohr, a forward, recently became one of 24 players in the nation to be selected to the Under-15 U.S. Girls National Team for its one-week training camp in Sunrise, Fla. Mohr will leave on Aug.22 for seven days of training sessions and matches. There are no guarantees beyond the camp, but it’s clear that Mohr has been identified as one of the top young talents in the country.

Mohr, a second-team All-Empire pick as a freshman, has harbored national-team dreams for many years. She just didn’t expect to be wearing the uniform so quickly.

“I’ve always wanted to have a national team jersey with ‘Mohr’ on the back,” she said. “That’s been my dream from a really early age.”

Mohr, who plays for Santa Rosa United, was identified through U.S. Club Soccer’s Player Development Program. Last November, she attended the id2 National Identification Camp in Frisco, Texas. This summer, she was invited to a regional id2 training session at Trione Fields in Santa Rosa, which was attended by U-15 national coach Mike Dickey.

Santa Rosa United coach Paul Dixon, who has coached Mohr for the past three years, said he wasn’t surprised to learn she had been invited to Florida.

Mohr has been a driving force for SRU, which has won tournaments in San Francisco, Davis and Sacramento this summer. Its only loss came against nationally ranked Arsenal FC of Los Angeles at the Surf Cup in San Diego.

“We’ve played some of the top teams in our age group in California and, to me, she’s one of the top forwards in the whole state,” Dixon said. “… She has a nose for the goal. She’s very single-minded when she gets to the last third of the field. She has a good burst of speed and she’s tough and physical. She’s not intimidated. In fact, I think she intimidates opponents with the way she plays.”

In addition to those attributes, there is Mohr’s work ethic.

Maria Carrillo coach Debra LaPrath quickly recognized Mohr’s drive last fall. After Mohr struggled to finish a few breakaways early in the season, she requested additional one-on-one work to improve.

“Instead of making excuses about it, she was like ‘Hey, I’ve got to get better at this,’” LaPrath said. “That showed me something right away.”

Dixon also raves about the extra work Mohr puts in. Not that she considers soccer work. She began playing at age 6 and her love affair with the sport quickly developed.

“I go out on the soccer field and I feel like that’s the most comfortable area for me to be,” Mohr said. “That’s where I want to be. It’s just natural to me. I have butterflies before games, but once the whistle blows and I get the ball, it all goes away. It feels right to me.”

Said Kelly Mohr, “What’s nice is this is something she’s done. This is her drive. This is her passion and it’s nice to see she’s excelling at it.”