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No lingering effects for Ozark goalkeeper Carlton following shoulder injury


Ozark goalkeeper Trevor Carlton overcame any inhibitions he had regarding his surgically-repaired left shoulder sooner and easier than he expected.

“I’ve been hit there many times already,” said Carlton, who suffered a broken collarbone to his left shoulder midway through his junior season a year ago. “The first week I was cleared, I dove right on it and had no problems. That was awesome.

“I thought that would be a big thing to overcome, but apparently not,” he added. “The injury could have prevented me from playing soccer again, but it didn't.”

Overcoming Carlton’s absence was something Ozark struggled to do following his injury. The Tigers were 6-6 without him and a promising season ended with a first-round exit at Districts.

Ozark was 10-3-1 at the time of Carlton’s injury.

Carlton was injured when a Webb City player ran into him and knocked him over inside the Cardinals’ goal.

“I didn't feel pain until I tried to get up,” he said. “I fell to the ground and I pushed with my left hand to try to get up and I felt this crazy pain. I was like, 'This isn't right.’”

Carlton dealt with the injury and ensuing rehab as well as could be expected.

“It was devastating, but I looked at it as an opportunity to get better and find a better objective,” Carlton said. “When I was cleared in late January, I started right back with my training and I kept working.

“Club season wasn't the best for me and I knew it wasn't going to be good going in because I was about a half a year without playing soccer,” he added. “But I knew club season would get me to where I am now. I feel I'm close to where I was last year. Once (school) season started this summer, I felt, 'Okay, I'm back in rhythm.’”

Tigers coach Zack Owens feels Carlton will quickly establish himself among the premier goalkeepers in southwest Missouri.

“I'd put Trevor in the top two,” Owens said, ranking Carlton alongside Cole Vincel, of Glendale.

Carlton will be sure to savor every moment of his senior season.

“Ultimately, I'm just glad to be back playing,” he said. “This year means a lot to me. It means a lot to be back out here.”