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Grove United Wins at Home During Santi Strong Fundraiser!

Photo @Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography

The Grove United Lions were playing for more than a win on Sunday night against Virginia Dream FC. They were also playing for their teammate and captain, Santiago Naliato. Santi was involved in a devastating car accident back in June, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.

In the weeks leading up to the return to City Stadium, Grove United launched the Santi Strong fundraiser as a way for fans, players, and staff members to support Santi and his family on his road to recovery through. All profits from the Grove United Replica Jersey sales went directly to the Santi Strong Campaign and promotion of the GoFundme campaign.

As July 2nd approached, the team prepared for their first home game in weeks without their captain. With Santi on everyone’s minds, the Lions rallied together and scored their first home win of the season.

Photo @Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography

The Lions started strong as #10 Onesime Muepu Ngoie, the Lion’s lead scorer with seven goals in the last five games, was assisted by #6 Asanda Tom to score the first goal in the 44th minute. VA Dream FC answered with a goal by Angel Chavez in the 68th minute. However, Muepu responded with another goal just minutes later. The Lions capped off the night with a 3rd goal in stoppage time from #17 James Lee, ending the night with a 3-1 win.

After the match, fans and players were called to the center of the stadium to show their support for Santi. Fans in the stands sported their new #5 jerseys as a result of the Santi Strong fundraiser and took pictures with the team after the exciting win.

As a result of the fundraiser, over $34,000 was raised for Santi and his family. However, there is still time to show your support for Santi on his recovery journey, as the fundraiser will continue at the next Grove United home match on July 8th against Fredrick FC.

Come out to City Stadium on July 8 at 7 P.M. to support Santi and the Lions.


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