NEWS | August 4, 2014

Teen hospice patient receives surprise visit from soccer star


Rodrigo Lopez and Bryan Garcia
Rodrigo Lopez of Sacramento Republic FC, left, paid a surprise visit to Bryan Garcia.

The UC Davis Hospice Program recently arranged a special occasion for one of its patients, who also is an avid soccer fan, 13-year-old Bryan Garcia: an unannounced visit to his home from Rodrigo Lopez, a member of the Sacramento Republic FC soccer team of United Soccer Leagues.

Susan Wilson, a social worker with the hospice program, made phone calls to Sacramento Republic FC to arrange the visit. The team provided about two hours’ notice of the surprise visit to Garcia’s home. Along with Garcia, also on hand to greet Lopez was Randy Kanouse, a hospice volunteer.

“After Rodrigo showed up at the door, much to Bryan’s surprise and amazement, he spent the better part of the afternoon with Bryan and his family, talking about his home country, sharing stories and giving Bryan a truly unforgettable afternoon,” said Don Lewis, hospice volunteer coordinator.

When Lopez asked Garcia what he liked to do, Garcia replied that he loves to play the FIFA World Cup video game. Lopez and Garcia played the game three times, with Garcia winning all three times.

According to Lewis, Lopez explained his performance by noting that soccer players “play with their feet, not their hands.”

To which Garcia replied, “I haven’t played in a while,” according to Lewis.