Sounders Academy goalkeeper Mohammed Shour was named MVP of the MLS NEXT All-Star Game after producing a series of stunning saves to lead the West team to victory on July 19.
It was just the latest honor for Shour, who has steadily climbed the ranks of the Sounders youth teams in recent seasons.
“They brought in 22 players from the East and the West, and he got to show that he was the best player out of the Western pool,” said VP of Player Development Henry Brauner. “[Mo had] good presence, good personality and just kind of showed that he was a step above.”
Just a few years ago, Shour was transitioning from playing on the wing to goalkeeper at local club PAC Northwest. He’s now considered one of the top 2007 goalkeepers in the nation. According to his coaches, Shour’s ascent has been the result of his mentality and love for the game.
Former PAC Northwest Goalkeeper Coach Forrest Marowitz knew Shour was special from the moment he first saw him play in a match.
“His team had a tough opponent and he just saved shot after shot and a bunch of 1-v-1’s,” said Marowitz. “He never backed down from a challenge. His coach and I looked at each other and just knew this kid was going to be a star.”
Shour’s work ethic served as a major component in his growth as a goalkeeper thus far.
“He was taking multiple buses to training multiple times per week, he would train during Ramadan, he always had a smile on his face, and he wanted to do extra training, asking if he could jump in with older kids and girls’ sessions,” said Marowitz. “It's been great to see all of his hard work pay off.”
Shour would also train twice per week with the Sounders through the SDP program while still playing with PAC Northwest. Shour’s willingness to improve was especially evident when he would go straight from Sounders Academy trainings to PAC GK sessions because of his desire to get more reps.
His dedication to the game eventually brought him to the Sounders organization full-time, where he flourished even further. From most recently earning MVP honors on the national stage, to being invited to two U.S. U-16 Youth National Team camps, Shour’s progression in the sport is apparent.
But it’s his character that’s given him the ability to reach new heights at the young age of 15.
“Mo's pretty driven and ambitious himself, so as much as the coaches put into him, it's also matched by what Mo gives out and puts back into that developmental space and environment as well,” said Brauner. “He's going and playing with the national team's respective age group and he's getting international exposure there and with [the Sounders], so he's really taken advantage of all the opportunities being given.”
What started as just “playing goalkeeper for fun,” according to Shour, has turned into something far beyond his expectations.
“I wasn't really looking at the future of what could happen if I kept playing the position, so it means a lot,” said Shour. “Being a goalkeeper for the Sounders is a really big deal for me.”
And while he’s still learning and growing in the goalkeeping position, the future looks bright for the Washington native.
“If he continues to do the things he's been doing, and he continues to exhibit the behavior and values that he has been showing, he's going to be just fine,” said Brauner. “If he wants to be a professional, which I believe he does, he can get there.”
But for now, Shour’s main priority is what he can control in the present.
“My goal is to just keep improving at my pace and not worrying about anything other than myself,” said Shour. “Everybody's goal is to be signed with the first team, but right now, I want to keep developing my craft and try to perfect it.”