Steve Mohn will never forget July 13, 2007. It’s a day that is entrenched in the Thomas Jefferson grad’s mind. And not in a real good way.
“It was the worst pain of my life,” Mohn said.
Injuries have always been a part of top level sports. But the injury Mohn suffered last summer while playing semi-pro soccer with the Tacoma Tide wasn’t a little knee tweak or sprained wrist. Mohn broke both his tibia and fibula in his right leg while playing a match with the Tide in Salem, Ore.
“It was just kind of a 50-50 ball and I went into a slide tackle and the guy came in with his cleats up and broke my leg six inches above my ankle,” Mohn said.
The brutal injury was bad enough. Mohn had a cast on his leg for 12 weeks, including six weeks with the cast situated above his right thigh.
“It was not fun at all,” Mohn said. “Not a fun experience.”
“Seeing a guy have his leg broken is probably the toughest thing to see in the game,” said Tide head coach Fran O’Brien.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. The broken leg also ended Mohn’s soccer career at the highly-successful University of Washington program. The injury occurred a month before Mohn’s senior season at the UW and he had already used up a red-shirt year.
“It was just extremely unfortunate thing and I ended up having to miss all of the season,” Mohn said. “
Mohn could have easily hung up his competitive soccer shoes. There was no more chance of playing at the collegiate level and rehab was going to be a lot of hard work. But that didn’t happen.
“It took quite a while to get back into shape,” Mohn said. “But I just wanted to keep playing soccer at the competitive level while I still have a chance to do it.”
Mohn is currently playing again for the Tacoma Tide and also trying out for the Seattle Sounders and hopes to get signed by the professional team “sooner, rather than later.”
The Tacoma Tide was founded in 2006 and is a member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League, the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. The team includes mostly college players from the area, who want to stay in shape during the offseason.
“We are definitely one of the higher quality teams in the league,” Mohn said. “It is a good resource and I really enjoy playing. I am back to 100 percent now. When I first got out of the cast, my leg was so skinny that I had to build it back up. But it’s a good felling to be back 100 percent and compete at the highest level.”
Mohn graduated from Thomas Jefferson in 2003, where he was an All-South Puget Sound League and All-City player in the midfield. After graduation, he went on to Pacific Lutheran University to play soccer. Mohn played in all 20 of PLU’s matches during his freshman season, scoring one goal and dishing out two assists. But a self-desribed lack of effort in the classroom forced Mohn to rethink his stay at PLU.
“I was not doing so well in school and it’s an extremely expensive school,” Mohn said. “I didn’t want to put my parents under that burden.”
So he left PLU and enrolled at Highline Community College and took a year off from playing soccer to get his grades in order.
But the soccer itch returned and Mohn starred for the Highline soccer team in 2005. He was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College (NWAACC) North Division Most Valuable Player after scoring 17 goals and adding 10 assists.
The impressive season caught the eye of the coaching staff at the University of Washington, one of the top Division I programs in the country.
During his first season at UW, Mohn played in 18 matches, starting six. He recorded one goal and had one assist and also scored the Huskies first goal in 2006 NCAA Tournament in a second round contest against Santa Clara.
Mohn will graduate today from the University of Washington with a degree in history. He even made the school’s Dean List last quarter with a grade-point average over 3.5.
“It’s kind of ironic, how I wasn’t doing so well and then I graduate from the UW,” Mohn said. “It was a complete turnaround and it feels good.”
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com