Mohammad Abualnadi (Mo) plays as a defender for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Jordan U19 National Team.
A former ESI player, Mo had personal training sessions with Stéphane and played with the ESI team for two seasons before joining Sporting KC's Academy team in 2017 and playing through 2019 seasons. Some of his career accomplishments include:
- Earned a start in every match with Sporting KC’s Academy team during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
- Called up to play with the U19 team for the playoffs in May 2018.
- Invited to Sporting KC’s first team’s preseason camp.
- Member of the Jordan U19 National Team.
NCAA College Soccer
As a freshman, Mo played in all 19 matches with the Fighting Irish, earning 15 starts as a defender during his rookie season.
Additional achievements include:
- Finished the season with a goal and an assist, totaling three points.
- Earned his first start in his Notre Dame debut in the season-opening win at Saint Louis.
- Scored the first goal of his career at the 1:12 mark of the season opener, which was tied for the second fastest goal to open a match since the 1995 season.
- Provided the assist for the game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Duke.
Mohammad “Mo” Abualnadi Finds Purpose & Passion at ESI
To be a left center or left back defender in collegiate and professional soccer you have to be a beast. Mohammad “Mo” Abualnadi brings his collective fire, technical soundness, strong work ethic and a sheer love of the game to the position.
At the core of his passion for the game is the European Soccer Institute (ESI) and long-time coach Stéphane Auvray. The now NCAA college freshman defender at Notre Dame credits his two years training and two years playing with ESI for changing the way he approaches soccer. During his four years working with Stéphane Auvray, Mo gained confidence as a leader and communicator, and his overall commitment to the game changed dramatically.
“I was going through the motions with soccer before I met Stéphane,” Mo says. “I was playing without a purpose.” During his time at ESI, Mo was able to find what made him tick as a player and found clarity in making soccer a career.
Mo emphasizes his time at ESI for also helping him expand as a player. His foundational soccer technique was enhanced greatly by the international experiences he was given - particularly going to Guadeloupe France to train.
“It was one of the best soccer experiences I’ve had. It was a very good trip because you get exposed to other players from outside the country,” he explained.
ESI included great families, flexible facilities and was player focused. Mo has many fond memories.
“I loved how training would never get canceled because we had outdoor and indoor facilities. I think the facility was extremely nice. The lounge always felt like home,” Mo said. “Personally I think ESI is one of the best institutes.”
Since leaving ESI, Mo has accomplished numerous goals. He joined Sporting Academy in Kansas City, and after six months, was training with the Swope Park Rangers (now Sporting KC 2). He was also called up to play on Jordan’s U-19 National Team. As a high school junior he was scouted by Notre Dame and made the decision to play for the Fighting Irish team after graduating high school.
As a freshman at Notre Dame he balances a NCAA soccer schedule and higher learning academics. He played in all of the team’s 19 games and was a starter in 15 of them. He is enrolled in pre-professional/pre-med courses. This balancing act has been challenging and stressful at times.
“We play two games a week. Between homework, exams, and labs - I’ve have to make some sacrifices,” Mo said. “The university does a good job of helping student athletes. Study hall is mandatory at first and we have easy access to tutors.”
Come game day how does he handle the life balance juggle and onfield performance? Mental focus and stress can play a part in the game and you have to try to stay focused and relaxed in order to perform well, Mo notes.
“I usually take two and a half hours before a game to mentally prepare,” Mo said. “I watch highlight videos to help me get focused.”
This current collegiate soccer player has visions of MLS and playing soccer in Europe in his sights. No matter what’s ahead, Mo will always carry the lessons he learned at ESI.
“ESI prepared me on many, many different levels, for many different things. Without Stéphane, I couldn’t have achieved what I did with Sporting, with playing with USLT, pre-season with the first team with Sporting KC – just getting in the system with Sporting. I think Stéphane prepares players on another level,” Mo said.
Mo also credits his parents, brother and sister as being fundamental to helping him advance in his soccer career. In addition, the sheer tie to ESI is still strong and Mo’s relationship with Stéphane continues to be important and relevant as he finds himself working toward a professional soccer career.
“He was my coach for so many years. He is like a second dad to me; and a great mentor too,” Mo said. Adding to those that want to follow in his footsteps, “If you train and play with Stéphane, you are going in as one of the best players. His players are better on so many levels, whether it's mentally, physically or on the ball side. He prepares a player extremely well to achieve their dreams.”
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