Maine soccer standout hit by a car in Saudi Arabia

January 23, 2022 GMT

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — One of the leaders of a high school soccer team that won its first state championship — and the hearts of many state fans — is struggling for his life after being hit by a car in Saudi Arabia.

Zakariya Abdullahi, a defender on the Lewiston High School’s 2015 team, is currently in a coma in Saudi Arabia, the Sun Journal reported.

Abdullahi was on a pilgrimage to Mecca with his mother and older brother when the brothers were hit by a car while walking on a sidewalk, a soccer coach told the newspaper. Zakariya Abdullahi suffered a serious head injury, the coach said.

A GoFundMe was created Friday morning, and by Sunday morning had raised more than $113,000 to assist in getting him back to the United States and providing medical care.

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The GoFundMe post said it will cost $100,000 just to transport Zakariya Abdullahi to the United States “under critical condition in an Air Ambulance to keep him stable throughout his trip.”

The 2015 soccer team featured players from Somalia, Kenya and Congo, elevating an already-good team to the state championship.

Abdullahi was living in Minnesota with his mother before the pilgrimage, but still keeps in touch with his former teammates in Maine, said Dan Gish, coach of Lewiston High’s boys soccer team.