Last November, soccer rivals Saint Louis Priory School and Westminster Christian Academy were locked in a battle for their district championship. The winner would advance to the Missouri state tournament. Unbeaten Priory faced a significant challenge from Westminster as the game was scoreless late in the first half. With about 10 minutes to go in the half, a free kick by a Priory player hit the football crossbar above the soccer goal and bounced back into play. Westminster players stopped playing assuming the ball would be ruled out of bounds. There was no immediate whistle and a Priory player kicked the ball into the goal. Not seeing that the ball had hit the football crossbar, the referees signaled a goal for Priory. Westminster’s valid argument was falling on deaf ears – until Priory coach John Mohrmann stepped in. He saw the ball hit the crossbar and did not think the goal for his team should count. Coach Mohrmann consulted with the officials and convinced them to overturn the goal. He told West Newsmagazine, “It was not a goal and I told the refs it wasn’t a goal. None of them saw it. It was misty. It happened so fast. On these shared football/soccer fields, that happens sometimes. I didn’t want to take a goal like that. If the game ended 1-0, we wouldn’t feel right about that.”
Priory could have easily taken the goal, but winning was not as important as winning the right way. Westminster coach Dan Legters told West Newsmagazine, “It speaks volumes about the kind of coach and man Coach Mohrmann is. I told him after the game that what he did was classy, and I mean it’s one of those things that reveals the true heart of the man. So many people say they would do the right thing, but coach Mohrmann did the right thing, even in the heat of competition when many would take any route they can in order to have success.” Priory eventually scored a legitimate goal and advanced in the state playoffs – their victory strengthened by exemplary class and character. In a letter sent to Priory, Westminster athletic director Todd Zell wrote, “This is a major act of outstanding sportsmanship that taught the kids, the fans and me the lesson that it is never wrong to do the right thing.” Coaches are often judged by how many trophies they hold up. John Mohrmann lets himself be judged by the principles he holds up.