Sporting Kansas City II has signed 21-year-old defender Mo Abualnadi to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract, sealing the center back’s return to his hometown club.
A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Abualnadi developed in the Sporting KC Academy from 2017-2019 and logged four USL Championship appearances for Sporting KC II in the spring of 2019 before embarking on a four-year college career in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He spent two seasons each at Notre Dame (2019-2020) and Pittsburgh (2021-2022), amassing 59 total appearances (51 starts) in central defense to go with two goals and two assists.
Abualnadi will begin his professional journey in Kansas City almost four years after first representing Sporting KC II, formerly the Swope Park Rangers, as an amateur player. The defender made his club debut with a 90-minute outing in a 2-2 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in March 2019 at Children’s Mercy Park, then earned his second of four starts that season by helping the team to a dramatic 3-2 home win over USL Championship powerhouse Louisville City SC on May 6.
Abualnadi joined the Sporting KC Academy in the summer of 2017 and played more than 40 matches between the U-17 and U-19 sides across two seasons. He also spent significant time with the Sporting KC first team during the 2019 preseason in Arizona. That same year, Abualnadi earned his debut for the Jordan U-19 Men’s National Team by appearing in two friendlies against Qatar’s Aspire Academy.
After two standout seasons at Sporting, Abualnadi ventured to South Bend, Indiana, to begin his time at perennial title contender Notre Dame. He made an instant impact as a freshman, starting 15 of 19 appearances and helping the Irish to the NCAA Tournament. He played 16 more matches as a sophomore, helping the side to five shutout victories.
Abualnadi transferred to Pitt in 2021 and started 21 of 24 appearances across his final two collegiate seasons as a Panther. His junior campaign was highlighted by one goal, one assist and Pitt’s run to the quarterfinals of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Notre Dame on penalty kicks. As a senior, Abualnadi was part of a Panthers team that upset previously unbeaten Kentucky in the Sweet 16 and progressed to the NCAA Men’s College Cup, where they fell to Indiana in the national semifinals last December.
Abualnadi has gained more first team exposure by training with Sporting this month during the club’s 2023 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy.
With the addition of Abualnadi, Sporting KC II now has 15 players signed to MLS NEXT Pro professional contracts.
Sporting KC II Roster (as of Jan. 25, 2023)
- Goalkeepers (1): Ethan Bandre
- Defenders (7): Mo Abualnadi, Aljaz Dzankic, Coby Jones, Mikey Lenis, Nassim Mekideche, Jahon Rad, Diedie Traore
- Midfielders (2): Ethan Bryant, Enzo Mauriz
- Forwards (5): Bakary Bagayoko, Josh Coan, Andrew Draper, Amadou Traore, Pau Vidal
Led by head coach and longtime Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber, Sporting KC II will begin preparations in February for the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season, which will feature an expanded field of 28 clubs.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City II signs defender Mo Abualnadi to an MLS NEXT Pro professional contract.
Mo Abualnadi (AH-bwahl NAH-dee)
Born: 2/8/2001 (21 years old)
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas
Birthplace: Overland Park, Kansas
Citizenship: USA, Jordan
Colleges: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh