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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.

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“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.”