May 11, 2022 - Things to Do

The D.C. soccer besties who scored

Two people, one in a wedding dress and the other in a tuxedo, posing over a soccer ball
Vanessa and Steven Santos on their wedding day. Photo courtesy of Vanessa.

When Vanessa Santos, 31, moved to D.C. from Michigan 10 years ago to work as a publicist, she was desperate for friends. So, like many 20-something transplants, she joined a rec league. Soccer, to be exact.

  • That's where she met a guy named Steve Santos.

How they became besties: This besties story is a little different because, spoiler alert, Steven and Vanessa are now married.

  • Yes, they even posed with a soccer ball in their wedding photos.

But their love first began with friendship. Both have long loved soccer. Vanessa played growing up, and Steven, a 33-year-old scientist who is Portuguese, is obsessed with Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • And hitting the field together and seeing one another’s competitive sides brought them closer.

Their bestie advice: Join a sports league, like DC Fray or District Sports, because you’ll meet a ton of people with a common interest.

  • No, you don’t need to be a pro player, Vanessa says. Many leagues are non-competitive and more about the group hang than an end-of-season trophy.

What they’re saying: “Meshing with the team is going to happen with any of the social leagues,” Steven says.

  • In their case, Sunday morning games were usually followed by brunch at Biergarten Haus on H Street or Across the Pond in Dupont Circle where they’d watch even more soccer on TV.

“Soccer ended up defining an entire group of friends,” Vanessa says. Everyone went to the wedding.

We’re game to keep bringing you more stories of D.C. besties. Do you and yours want to share how you got close? Email [email protected]

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