SEATTLE - At 13 years old, Amy Carnell was already a soccer standout. Her years playing on the field would be followed with leadership positions as a general manager for the Sounder’s women’s team as well as Reign FC in 2013.
From the outside looking in, it appeared as though Carnell had it all together.
“Silently I have been suffering you know struggling with depression,” Carnell said.
A depression she says that stems from burying trauma.
“About a year ago I sat down and watched the movie about a young girl, 13-year-old athlete, being sexually abused by her coach, which was that moment that everything came rushing back,” Carnell said.
Carnell says that coach was Mike Koslosky.
“A lot of interest and a lot of special attention, my coach would give me angel pendants,” Carnell said.
Journal entries take her back to middle school.
“Mike is so cool he’s like the nicest person I’ve ever met in my life, I kind of think of him as my dad and as a good friend,” Carnell said.
She says those entries in her journal shows the beginning of the grooming process.
Carnell says Kolosky who was in his 40s at the time touched her inappropriately and made her fondle him from when she was 14 to 16 years old.
“This man began touching me in the car and at parks following one on one training,” Carnell said.
She says it started with small boundary crossings.
“You feel entrapped, you feel like you can’t say anything, I can’t talk about this, I’ll get in trouble, it’s my fault,” Carnell said.
But this year when Carnell first shared her secret on social media she says the shame lost all its power over her.
It also brought a pivotal stranger into her life.
“Getting to connect with Sarah was one of the most powerful moments of my life,” Carnell said.
Sarah Clark says Koslosky touched her inappropriately several times when she was 11 years old.
“I’ll admit I feel very anxious and vulnerable something not easy to talk about, a lot of people know me but they don’t know this,” Clark said.
Clark says she is horrified by the similar tactics used.
“The one on one training, being pulled away from the rest of the team, being the special one,” Clark said.
Carnell is now suing her former coach.
The last time they had contact was this year when Carnell says Koslosky texted her and she confronted him about the past. Court documents show the text messages showing Koslosky apologizing to Carnell.
Attorney David Marshall representing Koslosky sent a statement.
“Mike Koslosky admits that he did have an improper relationship with Amy Carnell when he was her coach. He fell in love with her. He deeply regrets that his emotions led him to ignore the mismatch in their ages.”
Koslosky says the sexual contact only happened when Carnell was 16 years-old and denies any other inappropriate contact with other players or young people. Koslosky is also denying a number of other allegations in Carnell’s lawsuit.
The 36-year-old is also suing Northwest Nationals the group Koslosky was coaching for at the time in addition to Washington Youth Soccer. Carnell says the organization did not thoroughly investigate when a parent in 2000 called to report concerns over Koslosky’s relationship with her.
“If in fact Washington Youth Soccer at any time in or 54-year history not been there to protect children at any time, I am apologizing and regret it,” CEO Terry Fisher said.
Fisher wasn’t apart of WYS during Carnell’s soccer years.
He says he can’t speak to what happened then, but now, he says things are drastically different with systems in place to protect young athletes.
“I can tell you that in this environment today that phone rings the next step is to SafeSport and it’s on record and process begins,” Fisher said.
SafeSport is a federal program that requires every allegation to be looked into, it also sets parameters for coaches to follow.
Carnell says SafeSport is the right step but not enough.
“How do you tell the difference between a great coach and the child predator, what I am trying to tell parents is that from the naked eye you can’t,” Carnell said.
She wants mandatory training of parents and young athletes to learn about grooming and other red flags.
“An annual education especially for those year-round athletes which starting at the age of 10 these days,” Carnell said.
Fisher says the logistics behind training like that is hard but he says it is worth fighting for.
“It would be a great next step,” Fisher said.
If there is anything Carnell has learned, it is to speak up.
She says if enough people do, change is possible.
Both Carnell and Clark say Koslosky’s actions have had long-term impacts in their adult lives affecting their relationships.
“It damages your ability to love and to do intimacy,” Carnell said.
Carnell says she was hoping to go after Koslosky with criminal charges. But after looking into it, Carnell says current laws prevents her from going that route due to the decades that have since passed.