Former Sporting KC midfielder helps at family pharmacy in Spain's COVID-19 fight

Many Spaniards have made their way to MLS in the last decade.

Some have stayed to make contributions -- David Villa, Victor Vazquez, Carles Gil and Alejandro Pozuelo -- have made the Best XI in the last three seasons -- but others quickly moved on.

Toni Dovale spent the 2014 season at Sporting Kansas City and has since bounced around clubs in Spain (Lugo, Leganes and Rayo Vallecano), India (Bengaluru and East Bengal FC), Cyprus (Nea Salamis) and Thailand (Royal Thai Navy).

Toni was back in Spain when the coronavirus broke out, and he's stayed to help his family in its small pharmacy in La Coruna rather than return to Thailand.

“I was packing my bags to go back to Asia for the new season, but the situation with the virus started to become tough,” Dovale told AP. “I was not expecting to work now, but the only thing I could do was help. It was the right moment to come into the pharmacy and help my people.”

Spain has been hard hit, suffering more than 15,000 COVID-19-related deaths, the most in the world. The conditions in many parts of the country are poor.

"There is a shortage of many medicines," said Toni, who helps find supplies for the pharmacy to sell to its customers. "We don’t have masks, we don’t have alcohol. Gloves are not easy to find. I try to call labs and everybody who can provide me material to help these people. It’s really painful when people come to the pharmacy asking for a mask and you cannot get this kind of stuff for them.”

Toni's pharmacy provides a critical service in its neighborhood.

“We cannot forget that people can still become sick,” he said. “People still have diabetes, still have hypertension and many other problems. It’s very important that we take care of them, because the hospitals are collapsed and crowded.”

Photo: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire

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