Meet Drake: The Indomitable Boy.
A patient at UC Davis Children's Hospital and Republic FC Season Ticket Holder, Drake Spiteri has become a close member of our Republic FC family through his indomitable spirit.
Last July, 10-year-old Drake’s leg hurt after soccer practice. Worried, his parents Marie and Tony took him to his pediatrician, who immediately sent the family to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. At the hospital, they found out Drake had osteomyelitis, a bone infection and would need surgery as soon as possible.
However, despite the uncertainty of the future, Drake’s biggest concern was soccer.
I just wanted to get through it as fast as possible and get back to playing soccer,” said Drake.
“He immediately lost the being scared part when talking about soccer. He became very animated,” noted his nurse Heather Sims, who is also an active member of Republic FC’s supporter group, Tower Bridge Batallion.
Republic FC went to UC Davis Children’s Hospital with West Brom Albion players the day of Drake’s surgery to surprise him with a visit and a signed jersey. His sisters made sure Drake was adequately prepared by bringing him his Republic FC kit to wear while he recovered.
“For us to have the opportunity to give back in a way where we can go into these hospitals—even if we can brighten a kid’s day of just five minutes—it’s a big thing for us,” said Republic FC Captain Justin Braun. “It’s something we look forward to doing.”
Drake has continued to be a big part of Republic FC’s family after the hospital visit. When Major League Soccer visited Sacramento last fall, Drake was the first person to greet Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott and the Sacramento International Airport, presenting Abbott with a letter about UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Republic FC.
Additionally, Drake and has family continue to enjoy attending Republic FC matches. This season, Drake and his younger brother have both walked out with players and Republic FC players often say hi to Drake when they see him at matches.
The visit in the hospital, however, proved would prove to help push Drake’s drive to rehab quickly so he could return to playing the sport he loved.
It was one of those things that was a catalyst to say ‘hey sometimes bad things happen, but sometimes great things happen because of it,’” said Drakes’s father Tony.
“For him to have that desire to get back and do the rehab and do all that, it really shows how strong of a person Drake is,” added Braun.