SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes honored three people Saturday who rescued one of their players who nearly drowned on Lake Tahoe.
Matheus Silva couldn't stop saying "thank you" when he met the three heroes who saved him.
"The people that saved my life, not only me, but my family. It's unbelievable. It's a great feeling to be here in front of them. I don't have words to thank them enough," Silva said.
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The three good samaritans got to kick a ceremonial pre-game goal at Avaya Stadium before Saturday's game.
Matheus was lucky that the three happened to be there when the beach was almost empty. It was 6 a.m., and he and a few other teammates were staking out a spot at the beach. He decided to go for a swim, and was overcome by the cold water.
Chris Gunther and Colby Peterson happened to be paddle boarding nearby.
"I ripped off my sweatshirt and dove in because he wasn't coming back up. Luckily I was able to get underneath him, push off the bottom of the sand and push him up where Colby was waiting," Gunther said.
Colby got Silva on his board and pushed him to shore, where retired emergency room nurse John Burke, also happened to be on the beach. "His mom was the heartbreaker. I wouldn't want to look her in the eyes if I didn't get done what happened. I was so glad of the outcome, but I know I did my best, but sometimes your best isn't good enough. This time, it worked out," rescuer John Burke said before Saturday's game.
Matheus spent two days in a coma before recovering enough to return to light practice last week.
Matheus is still on medical leave, and won't return to San Jose until maybe next season. Silva was not on the field with the Earthquakes this season. He's currently on loan with an affiliate in Reno, which is also why he was in Lake Tahoe on the 4th of July. The team was planning a barbecue that day.