The pre-game meal is crucial to performance on the field so we checked in with Sporting KC Fitness Coach Mateus Manoel about what professional players should eat before matches. Let’s see if the pre-game meals of defender Aurelien Collin, midfielder Benny Feilhaber, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and defender Seth Sinovic match up.
Mateus Manoel, Fitness Coach
What do you tell players to eat before the game?
"Typically, a player should eat 4-5 hours before kickoff. It should include mostly carbohydrates like pastas and breads. We also look to get some sort of protein in there. Usually, the red meats are cut out. We want something like a fish or chicken that’s either baked or grilled; never fried. We try to limit the amount of greens they have like spinach and lettuce. As humans, we don’t have the enzymes to process those legumes like cows do. We take 7-8 hours to process those greens. If you have a meal like that before a game, you’ll still have it in your stomach on the field. Broccoli, green peppers and tomatoes are easy to absorb and great sources of carbs. The players can include those in the pre-game meal. It’s basically simple veggies, pasta, some form of lean protein and lots of fruits.
Which players are stubborn about eating right?
They are all tough. Nowadays, you get some of the more modern players who are used to the more modern foods. If you were to talk to a player 20 or 30 years ago, the amount of processed foods we currently have in the supermarket didn’t exist. Now, you go to a typical player’s home, and everything they have is in a package or frozen. They don’t go buy fresh every couple days. We want to gear them toward having more of the stuff that grows out of the ground. It’s fresh and full of minerals and vitamins. We try to get away from processed foods and eat more of the natural stuff.
Do players ever eat at halftime?
It’s normal to be hungry at halftime. 45 minutes is a long time to work. They should be hungry if they’re running enough. Nuts, granola, and fruits are good to eat at halftime.
Aurelien Collin, Defender
What is your typical pre-game meal?
For a night game, red meat and pasta, a little salad, and fruits.
Do you treat yourself after a win?
I eat whatever I want to eat. Most of the time, I’m not that hungry after the game. I have to wait a couple of hours. Then I eat a lot. I usually eat something heavy like African, Latino, or French food. Just something big.
Benny Feilhaber, Midfielder
We think people may be interested in your pre-game meal. What do you usually eat?
People are not going to be interested in my pre-game meal (laughs). I don’t want to answer in front of Mateus (Sporting KC Fitness Coach).
So what are you supposed to eat and what do you really eat?
What I’m supposed to eat is the blandest pasta, the blandest marinara sauce, and the blandest chicken. Mateus, what other bland stuff can we have?
Mateus: (laughs) No, he has Alfredo sauce and fried chicken.
Benny: No! Not friend chicken.
Mateus: Just say the truth.
Benny: When we’re on the road, we basically eat what Mateus gives us: pasta, marinara sauce, chicken, and some veggies. We usually eat about five hours before the game. I tend to eat something in between because five hours is too long. I’ll usually eat something like a protein bar or fruit. When I’m at home, I eat later. I usually eat something pretty bland. I’ll eat pasta, but I’ll try and put maybe meat sauce or at least some good chicken. The chicken they give us is so bland. There’s literally no taste to it. I try and eat something more interesting and tasty at home.
What can you eat after the game?
After the game, we’re allowed to eat a little bit more. I’ll usually have a heavier meal. Then they’ll give us chocolate chip cookies to satisfy our needs.
Jimmy Nielsen, Goalkeeper
Tell us about your pre-game meal.
I have been eating the same food before every game for 18 years. When we play on the road, it’s a little bit out of my hands. But when we’re home, I eat my wife’s Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s very simple, but very good. My wife and kids hate it. They’re sick and tired of it.
But they know they have to eat it every home game?
Every home game. So Saturday, it’s Spaghetti Bolognese. With croutons! I love it and they hate it.
After the game, do you treat yourself?
No, no. Is this for kids or adults?
For the Sporting Blog.
I have two beers after the game.
Seth Sinovic, Defender
What do you usually eat on game days?
I’ll usually wake up and have a couple eggs and some toast. Four hours before the game, I’ll have a lot of pasta with red sauce. That’s about it.
Do you treat yourself after the game?
Not really, nothing too special. We have food for us after the game like sandwiches. We have to make sure we get food in us so we can recover.
It’s March and you know what that means...March Madness! Thanks to March Madness, Florida Gulf Coast University is now the talk of the town and more so the country. After busting everyone’s brackets with their upset win over Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament, FGCU followed that up by getting the best of San Diego State in the round of 32. Now the No. 15-seeded Eagles find themselves matched up against No. 3-seeded Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.
Florida Gulf Coast University is the lowest-seeded team to make it into the Sweet Sixteen in the history of the tournament and are arguably the most unknown in this year's pool of 64. FGCU is this year’s Cinderella and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. You may have never heard of them but through six degrees of separation you’re bound to be connected to the Eagles in one way or another.
Thanks to Sporting Kansas City’s own Stephen Howell, Coordinator of Fan Experiences and Guest Services, Sporting KC definitely has a seat on the bandwagon. Howell graduated from FGCU in 2011. He spent four and a half years there both studying and working for the athletic department.
How are you connected to the FGCU Men’s Basketball team?
“I pretty much set up all their practices. From tables and chairs to setting up the entire gameday, the arena, pulling out bleachers, selling tickets, working with the parking lot guys…I mean, you name it and I probably did it for the university and the athletic department. It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of experience from it.”
Thoughts on FGCU’s Cinderella run so far…
“It’s amazing right now. I’m on cloud nine for our school because I did so much work for the athletic department across all the sports. Growing up I played basketball, so basketball has always had a special place in my life. So for our men’s team to be doing as well as they are right now is awesome.”
What do you tell people that have never heard of FGCU?
“We get that a lot actually because no one’s ever heard of FGCU. If you watch the broadcast, everyone puts FLAGC or there’s always some random use of words when they could just put FGCU. But, I tell them we're a small school from Fort Myers and to watch out because we’re making a name for ourselves in a lot of sports other than just men’s basketball.”
How far did you have them going in your bracket?
“I have them winning the national championship. Everyone said I was crazy and I said, ‘Watch, Georgetown plays half-court basketball while we’re an up-tempo team and we’ll run and gun them.’ We pulled that one off. Then I had them beating San Diego State and I had them beating Florida and I have them beating KU and then I have them beating Miami again for the second time and then beating Duke in the finals.”
Get a seat on the Cinderella wagon while you still can. Florida Gulf Coast University takes on Florida with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line on Friday night at 9 p.m. CT.
Chance Myers is a man of many talents. He’s one of the league’s best right backs and he can rock a tank top like nobody’s business. Sporting Kansas City’s own personal DJ sat down with us to talk about the art of playlist making and the goodness of Ranch Dressing.
I understand you have a bet going with Seth Sinovic where he had to grow his hair out until the season started. Tell me more about it…
Chance: First of all, Seth looks really good with long hair.
(Seth, who is standing nearby, shakes his head in disbelief)
Chance: …and I thought it would be beneficial for him to grow his hair out during pre-season but he said he wouldn’t unless we bet dinner on it. It was a friendly wager- he won the bet. But I think he’s keeping his hair long. His mom really likes it long.
Speaking of hair, you cut a lot of hair off recently. Did you do it to confuse your opponents?
Chance: No. I just decided to cut it. No rhyme or reason.
How does it feel?
Chance: It feels good. I forgot what it feels like to have short hair.
What are you going to with all your extra headbands?
Chance: Keep them in the drawer. My hair grows extremely fast so you never know.
You’re the acclaimed DJ in the locker room. For those at home, what are some tricks for making a good playlist?
Chance: Listen to your peers. If there’s a good song on and people like it, take note. I use Spotify to find good music.-I can spend three to four hours clicking from artist to artist to find good music.
What are your go-to bands for playlists?
Chance: Cascade, Bassnectar, The xx, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, White Panda. A good song is Midnight Life by White Panda .
What would your last meal on earth be?
Seth: Something with Ranch Dressing. He loves ranch.
Chance: I do love ranch dressing. Right now, I am thinking of what I am going to eat tonight with Ranch. But my last meal would have to be a good steak. Seth would have candy for his. (Seth nods his head in agreement)
What is the key to looking good in a tank top?
Chance: Do 500 push-ups before you leave the house.
Seth: Or just don’t wear a tank top.
Chance: Yeah, or that.
Tell me something people don’t know about you…
Chance: When I wear button-up shirts, I button them all the way the top. All the guys make fun of me for it. I’m the opposite of [Aurelien] Collin who leaves his shirts all the way unbuttoned.
If you could eat dinner with anyone, dead or alive… who do you pick?
Chance: Steven Gerrard-I’d like to play golf with him- and Stephen Speilberg because his mind is insanely crazy and awesome. Also, I’d like to meet Heath Ledger.
You’ve got a good golf game (8-9 handicap). Who are the best golfers on the team?
Chance: Seth and [Matt] Besler are good. Soony [Saad] and Dom [Dwyer] are the most fun to golf with because they’re always pulling shenanigans on the course.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Chance: Blake Anderson from Workaholics.
Bobby Convey has seen and done a lot in his 14-year professional soccer career. The World Cup veteran sat down with us to talk about extreme couponing, his coconut doppelganger and playing tennis with Landon Donovan.
First off, tell me a little about your off-season. Where’d you go? What’d you do?
First, I went to the doctor and sorted out my hamstring. I worked out twice a day every day and I saw a lot of family. I went to D.C. and trained with my old trainer from D.C. United and then I went home to Charleston and trained with my trainer from my time with U.S. Men’s National Team. I also painted my house.
We are a few days into pre-season. How’s your tan looking so far?
Well, I am at the pool right now but it’s not looking good.
Most guys in MLS went to high school and on to college before joining the league. You didn’t go to high school, but did you ever go to a high school dance?
I went to prom once…
Landon Donovan was your roommate at Bradenton. Did he snore? Did you guys do any fun roommate stuff together?
[Laughs] No, he didn’t snore. We played tennis every day after training and we were both really competitive. We were pretty evenly matched. We were friends but our tennis games weren’t friendly. When he was at the net I wouldn’t hesitate to hit him with the ball.
You’re a well-traveled man. What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
The Bahamas. I did a soccer clinic there for kids and I loved it.
I’m sure you’ve swapped a lot of jerseys with players in your career. What’s your most prized jersey you’ve swapped for?
I have a lot. I once swapped jerseys with Brazil’s Ronaldinho and I brought it home and my little brother wore it to school.
Where do you keep all the cool soccer stuff you accumulated from playing in Europe and in a World Cup?
My mom has everything from my career in her house in Philadelphia.
What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever given you?
When I was in Argentina a fan gave me a coconut that was carved to look like me. I still have it.
Why did you get rid of your frosted tips on your hair?
Because they were horrible. I was 16 and experimenting.
Your wife told me you suffered from a bout of extreme couponing. Tell me about that…
I got bored in the off-season one year so after I saw an episode of extreme couponing and I decided to try it. I eventually got like 30 things of deodorant for free from Walgreens. I gave a lot of it away to a shelter but my wife and I haven’t bought deodorant in at least two years.
You’ve played professional soccer for nearly half of your life. What advice would you give 16-year-old Bobby?
I would say, work harder, appreciate it more and enjoy yourself.
Lastly, any chance of joining Twitter?
No, probably not. The only way I’d do it is to help promote the charities I am involved with… so maybe.
Tomorrow is Kansas’ 152nd birthday. But today it's all about Kansas’ pride and joy birthday boy Seth Sinovic. We caught up with our loveable 26-year-old left back to talk best birthdays and throwing rocks at teammates.
What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever gotten?
A Ghostbusters backpack
Coolest birthday party you’ve ever had?
When I turned 16, some of my friends threw a surprise birthday for me at my house.
How are you celebrating today?
I’m hanging out with the guys on the team. We are watching the KU game. I’ve been trying to lay off the candy since it’s my New Year’s Resolution, but maybe I’ll have a little bit.
How is your tan coming along in Arizona?
Well, I am constantly being embarrassed by my roommate Chance [Myers] because he just got back from Hawaii. But I’m working on it.
Do you and Chance do anything fun as roommates?
We have been scaring the guys on the lower levels by hiding on our balcony at night and throwing stuff at them. They don’t know it’s us yet.
Now that you’re #15, are you going to grow out your hair like Roger Espinoza?
I will grow out my hair until the end of February, then I’m cutting it. I can’t pull off the Roger Espinoza look.
You took a nasty spill into the field boards last year. If you could send one message the makers of those boards, what would it be?
Maybe they could add some stop signs or padding.
What’s the worst pronunciation you’ve ever heard for your last name?
How do you feel about Kansas being #2 to Soony Saad’s Michigan?
Obviously, Kansas should be number one.
Who is the best driver? The worst?
I am the best driver but also the worst parker. Jimmy Nielsen is the worst. He drives on the wrong side of the road.
Who controls the radio in your van?
Chance [Myers] is our DJ, with helpful suggestions from me.
Sporting Kansas City’s CJ Sapong has got the moves on and off the field. You may know him for his beastly athleticism, colorful goal celebrations and skills as a freestyle rapper. But did you know about Sapong’s success as a fierce limbo competitor? How about his thoughts on corduroy pants? Read on and find out.
The guys always like to give you hell for being constantly late. What would you like to say in your defense?
Not too much I can say. Always been a characteristic of me to cut it close. I have gotten better at being on time though so hopefully I can keep it up. Progression is key!
You used to drive a really old car that never started. But you loved it dearly and called it the Snow Bunny. Can you tell me where that name originated?
It was a white Honda Accord that used to glide down the street like a snow bunny through a pasture.
You're a mama's boy. What do you miss most about your mom when you're not at home in DC?
Her great conversation and FOOD
Who is your favorite celebrity couple?
Ice T and Coco
What do you think Prince William and Kate Middleton should name their baby?
Where'd you learn to do a backflip? Gymnastics?
I just tried it one day.
What were you like in high school?
Fun-loving and a little troublesome
Have you ever won anything non-soccer related?
A couple dance competitions and a limbo contest in elementary school
What was the last movie you cried in?
What's your go-to pick-up line?
The darker the berry… if she doesn’t finish it, she’s not for me [laughs]
I've heard you can eat whatever you want and it has no effect on your body. Describe what you eat in a typical day.
About four peanut butter sandwiches dipped in hot chocolate for breakfast. Chipotle for lunch and dinner
What did you get for Christmas?
A wool coat and lots of smiles
You once said that Daniel Radcliffe would play you in the movie of your life. Does that still stand? Do you think he could beef up to look like you? What advice would you give him to play you?
[Laughs] I don’t think so. Doubt he can do a backflip!
What makes you feel like a man?
Gaining knowledge everyday and consistently progressing as a person
What’s one fashion look you wish you could pull off?
Before Josh Gardner heads to Kansas City, he’s spending the holidays in California with his wife Michelle’s family and his two children, Addison (3) and Caleb (2). After spending last year with the Montreal Impact, Gardner said he’s excited to be back in the States and to be living a little closer to home.
What are you looking forward to the most about playing with Sporting Kansas City?
I’m looking forward to getting to know the guys on the team, playing in front of the crazy fans in KC, the brand new stadium, and definitely looking forward to the different tournaments and competitions we’ll play in this year.
What does it mean to you to play in front of those ‘crazy’ SKC fans?
For me, it’s important, they’re going to be behind you, and they make it tough playing there. You definitely feel it when you’ve got fans who’ve got your back and want you to do well. It gives the players confidence, and also makes players want to show well for their team because they’re rooting you on.
Which player are you most excited to play with on the field?
Oh man, I think I’m looking forward to playing with Kei. We’ve always played against each other, never really played together. With his ability in the air, I’m looking forward to hopefully connecting up with him for assists and him getting the goals.
With a wife and two kids (and one on the way) what does your family think about the move to Kansas City?
The first thing is, being back in the states is very exciting for them. We’re also looking forward to being closer to family because my family is in Houston and hers is in California. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Kansas City area. We’re looking forward to it.
When you’re not playing soccer, what do you like to do with your free time?
I’m a family man, so I like to spend time with my family. I like playing golf and, well, what do I like to do? I don’t know, having kids your time is pretty much dedicated to them and making sure they’re having a good time. We do like being outdoors so we’ll probably try to find some good parks that the kids can play in.
What is a typical Gardner family Christmas like?
This year, there certainly won’t be any snow, and there’s really not much snow when we visit my family in Houston for the holidays either, but I can tell you one thing we are looking forward to is, hopefully next year doing Christmas in Kansas City and trying to start a tradition with our family because we’ve been traveling so much. This year Christmas time will just be hanging out; family will be coming over, presents with the kids and just good quality time.
Sporting Kansas City’s newest player Ike Opara stopped by the front office to answer hard-hitting questions about Oprah Winfrey, his Christmas list and his parody Twitter account.
Going from California to Kansas City, how do you plan on adjusting to the climate change?
It’s more like where I’m from than San Jose [Opara is from Durham, North Carloina). It will be more what I’m used to. I’m always a fan of the four seasons.
What music are you listening to right now?
Kanye West, Imagine Dragons, F. U.N.
We hear you’re a big basketball fan….
I’m a huge Duke basketball fan. But I’ve always wanted to get to Allen Fieldhouse for a game.
What are you watching on TV?
Rescue Me, Blue Mountain State, Scandal
Do you have a nickname?
No, none of them have stuck
Bobby Convey assisted two goals for you in your rookie season, talk about your chemistry with BC.
I was one of his focal points that he targeted. I knew the exact kind of balls he delivered so hopefully we can score more goals this season together.
Do you and Oprah have anything in common except for your similar sounding names?
No, we don’t. She’s really rich and I’m not.
We noticed you have a parody twitter account- @Ohhhhhhpara-that says “ohhhhh” a lot and is pretty funny. Ohhh… can you tell us about it? Who runs it?
I tried to get rid of it! I don’t know who runs it. At first, I thought it was one of my friends messing with me but no one has come clean about it. Whoever runs it tweets about Justin Bieber and stuff.
What do you want for Christmas?
An Audi S5.
Who are you most excited to meet on to team?
Everyone. I don’t know most of the guys.
Are you relieved to be playing alongside any particular player instead of against them?
I’m relieved to be playing with all of them. They were a tough team to play against. Kei Kamara definitely. He gave us fits when we played against them.
Describe your fashion style…
Random. I like to switch it up. I like to put articles of clothing together that don’t match. I like shorts better than long pants. I think I just described Aurelien Collin’s fashion style so maybe I will just say my style is casual.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing soccer?
Play video games, read and relax.
Do you like Chipotle, video games, dog parks, free t-shirts and Michael Jackson?
You’re going to love it here.
So everyone knows Sporting Kansas City is having a dominant season. We are sweeping the stat boards all the way to the playoffs. What the wins, shots, goals, assists and shutouts don’t show is the delightful personalities of the players behind them. Sure you may know that scoring on Jimmy Nielsen is a tough gig, but do you know about his beauty regiment and love of Danish hot dogs? Didn’t think so. So let’s take a step back from all the tactics and playoff buzz and talk about anything but soccer with some of Sporting’s biggest stars. First up is Jimmy Nielsen:
The guys in the locker room all agree, you have the best singing voice. If you were a pop star what would you sing?
I don’t listen to a lot of music so the only music I really listen to is what my oldest daughter plays at home. Right now she is playing all Taylor Swift music so if I could change my voice to sound womanly, I would probably sing something by Taylor Swift.
Also, what would you wear on stage?
The outfits Madonna wears.
What is your grooming regiment for your hair? Also please talk about your beauty regiment.
I don’t take care of my hair. My wife buys my shampoo. It takes me five minutes to get ready. I get up, get out of bed, brush my teeth, take the dog out and then I go wake up my kids.
You have two daughters; one is a teenager and a total heartbreaker. How have you handled the attention she gets from boys?
We talk a lot about it because I told her that she is a smart, pretty girl- the boys will come at one point but I’m doing my best to make sure it stays to friendships. I don’t allow any boyfriends. There was a boy that was texting her and she had her phone suspended for a few weeks and I called up the boys’ parents and the boy and told him not text her.
Do they celebrate Halloween in Denmark?
What would you dress up as?
I would love to be John Travolta or Hugh Hefner- that’ a simple costume.
When I played goalkeeper and the action was at the other side of the field, I would often do cartwheels and make daisy chains. Do you ever get the urge to do these things?
No. I don’t. The worst thing I’ve ever done as a kid in the goal was when the ball was in the other end, I was playing with the net and talking to my mom and she said “Hey they’re coming!” and my finger got stuck in the net and the other team scored on me and my coach was screaming so much that my mom pulled me out and took me home.
My mom has a really big crush on you.
Yes. And so do all of her friends. How does it make you feel to know that you are every mom’s fantasy?
It makes me feel old but I don’t mind it. I’m not doing anything on purpose to be a sex symbol to moms. My age is up there so I would rather a 40-year-old have a crush on me than a 15-year old.
What would your last meal on earth be?
A Danish hot dog. It’s just different than the hot dogs here. They have places in Denmark that only sell hot dogs so they are made with a lot of love. It’s just different.
Why did you go with a pink goalkeeper’s kit? Jon Kempin told me the other goalkeepers had no say in the color…
When I saw it in the catalog I thought the color looked OK. When I saw the jersey in person for the first time I thought “Is that what a picked?!” But it’s OK. It’s just an outfit.
What color would you wear in the goal if you had a choice?
Kei Kamara: He’d be naked
Jimmy: *laughs* If I could! I would wear a black top, black shorts and white socks.
Kamara: The black puma
Do you do anything else in your goalkeeper gloves? Like take hot things out of the oven, garden, swim etc.
*Laughs* I pick up dog poop.
You’re the oldest guy on the team. What do you wish you knew when you were 21 that that you know now?
A lot of stuff. You know it’s hard to pick one thing. It’s more like overall with everything you do on and off the field that you’re just getting a little smarter with age. I did a lot of crap when I was a young keeper but I don’t regret anything. I have enjoyed every moment of every age.
Do you use any anti-aging products?
My wife is buying me stuff and telling me I have to clean my face and spray stuff and put cream on. It doesn’t work.