Soccer standout dies after being hit by car in Saudi Arabia

January 28, 2022 GMT

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A former member of a high school soccer team that won its first state championship with help from members of the immigrant community has died from injuries after being hit by a car in Saudi Arabia.

Zakariya Abdullahi, a defender on the Lewiston High School’s 2015 squad, was in a coma before he died Thursday in a Saudi hospital, the Sun Journal reported.

Abdullahi, who graduated from Lewiston in 2016, was on a pilgrimage to Mecca with his mother and older brother when the brothers were hit by a car while on a sidewalk, friends said. They had been living in Minnesota.

Amy Bass, who wrote a book “One Goal” about the 2015 team that featured players from Somalia, Kenya and Congo, recalled the last text she received from Abdullahi on Jan. 5.


“The whole trip was incredibly emotional for him. It was filled with family and spirituality, and regaining a sense of place that was so important to him,” she told he newspaper.

A GoFundMe was created to raise money to bring Abdullahi home for medical care raised more than $126,000.

Abdullahi’s former coach, Mike McGraw, said the quick response to the GoFundMe “showed how much of an impact a young man has had on a community.”