By Rubin E. Grant
Perhaps, no one traveled farther to participate in the AHSAA All-Star Sports Week than Hoover rising senior Carter Mock.
At the end of the school year in May, Mock journeyed to Fairbanks, Alaska, to live with his family. It was culture shock.
“It was kind of like living in a foreign country,” Mock said.
On July 12, Mock’s family left Alaska to move to Hoover. A few days later, Mock was in Montgomery playing for the North in the All-Star soccer game at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.
The North shut out the South 3-0 last Wednesday thanks to a strong defensive effort from Mock, a center back, and his teammates. The North defense did not allow a shot on goal in the second half.
“It was an honor to play in something like that,” Mock said. “I really hadn’t heard anything about it until Coach K (Hoover soccer coach Kris Keplinger) explained it to me.”
Because Mock’s dad is in the military, he has lived in a variety of places. He was born in Colorado Springs and has lived in Germany. The move from Alaska to Hoover was the 11th move of his life.
Mock actually spent his junior year living in Hoover with the family of teammate Sam Bauder. Mock and Bauder play club soccer for Birmingham United Soccer Association, which is how they met.
Mock began playing for BUSA after he moved back from Germany in 2016. His family had relocated to Starkville, Mississippi, where his dad, Army Lt. Col. Aaron Mock, was a professor of military science at Mississippi State University and taught ROTC.
A friend of Mock’s in Mississippi was playing for BUSA, so Mock joined the club team, too. That’s when he met Bauder.
“I didn’t know Sam, but we have become like brothers,” Mock said.
When Mock’s dad was transferred to Alaska during the summer of 2018, Mock came to Hoover to live with Bauder’s family.
“His parents were great about it,” Mock said. “I couldn’t ask for a better situation. It’s like having a second family.”
Mock and Bauder spent a week in late June playing for BUSA in a national tournament in Chicago.
“We finished in the top 16,” Mock said. “We were knocked out going for the top eight.”
Twice during the school year Mock made the long trip to Alaska to visit his family, including his mom, Angel, and his younger sister, Lillie.
“I went up for Christmas and stayed an extra week and I went up for spring break and stayed an extra week,” Mock said.
Now, the family will be together in Ross Bridge, although Mock said Lillie, 13, is leaving behind some friends.
“She didn’t enjoy Alaska, but she’s going to miss her friends in Fairbanks,” he said.
Adjusting to Hoover
Mock made a smooth transition to playing soccer for the Bucs last season. Keplinger was glad to have such a talented player join the team.
“He’s a phenomenal kid, No. 1, and he’s kind of a throwback, a quiet leader,” Keplinger said. “He’s very strong, he’s really good on the ball, he’s smart and he’s coachable. He does exactly what’s he’s told to do.
“He anchored our back line along with (center back Juan Valle and (goalkeeper) Max Rudolph.”
Mock was instrumental in Hoover winning its first state championship since 2003 as the Bucs captured the Class 7A crown, but he considered it a team effort.
“I think we had a good group of guys on the back line, but also our midfielders and forwards,” Mock said. “Our team worked well together. From the beginning of the year we talked about winning it for the seniors. We knew we had the talent to do it. We had great chemistry and we got it done when we needed to get it done.”
Mock would like to leave Hoover with another title next spring.
“That’s the goal, absolutely,” he said.
Then, he will be on the move again, this time to play college soccer.
“I have looked at a couple of places in the South,” Mock said, “but I am not certain what I want to do.”