Mustafa Abed, the inspirational teen who spent the last year in Portland receiving treatment for a prosthetic leg following a war injury in Iraq when he was only two, visited Providence Park last week to simply say thanks.
Now a soccer loving teen, Abed had many visits with the club having attended Timbers training last spring, witnessing Portland’s 1-0 triumph over Seattle Sounders FC in the historic 100th meeting between the clubs, watching a number of Thorns FC games and the club also invited them to Atlanta as a special guest to see the Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup.
Last Thursday, when he, his mother and some of the Portland friends who have helped care for them here came to the stadium to say thanks, Mustafa was given a new Timbers kit, an indestructible One World Football and also received a specially recorded message from Tucson of Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese wishing him the best of luck.
“I’m happy that finally, you’ve finished your treatment,” Savarese said. “That everything is good. It’s been a great pleasure having you here [with us] a few times—our good luck charm. I wish you nothing but the best and I’m sure that you’re going to have great success in your future.
“You’re an unbelievable person, very charismatic, and thank you for everything. Good luck!”
The video clearly touched Mustafa and he was equally appreciative of Savarese and the entire club for the experiences they shared.
“I’ll repeat the same words [Savarese] said to me,” he said. “I love all of the players and I really appreciate everything that they gave to me. I love them from the bottom of my heart.
“I wish them luck every time they play and I’m going to keep looking to see if they won and follow the team.”
“I want to thank all of [players and staff],” Mustafa’s mother Nihdal added. “Especially because every time they invited him to attend any game or participate in training, he felt so happy and that makes me happy too. So I really appreciate that. Thank you.”
The group brought a special cake that had a picture of the team on it as a show of gratitude for the club. It’s been a whirlwind number of months for Abed, but on Thursday, after tremendous medical care and soccer and life memories that will last a lifetime, Mustafa knows that he’s had an opportunity and experience that he will never forget.
“It’s something like a dream,” he said of his time in the United States. “It’s awesome. Everyone can dream. I really appreciate it and I thank [the team]. It’s been a big opportunity for me to be here.”