Three Weeks into 75 Hard & Mourning Routines

Nearly five weeks was my initial attempt at completing 75 Hard. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I failed after ten days. However, I restarted, and yesterday marked twenty-one days into attempt number two. The common belief is that turning something into a habit takes three weeks (twenty-one days). Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. But what I do know is that I do not want to turn away from living this way.
I think I look pretty great – probably the best my body has ever looked. But the way I feel, both physically and mentally? That is unmatched. I wake up every day hungry (literally and metaphorically) and ready to face the day head-on. I feel as if nothing can stop me from my mission of achieving everything I want in this life.

Not only that, but I feel as if the quality of my relationships has drastically improved. I make the time to call friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. I have meaningful conversations. I’m more open and honest. I’ve been laughing and smiling more, and those things are infectious. My bad habits are falling by the wayside, replaced with new healthier habits.

In short, “75 Hard” has been a godsend.

By this far in the endeavor, I thought I’d genuinely miss eating meat. I don’t. I’m eating more fruits and vegetables than I ever have. I probably need to eat more protein daily, but I’m not necessarily trying to add muscle. I’m trying to become leaner to be quicker, and more agile when I get the chance to play soccer.
I have always resented myself for not being a better soccer player during my “high school career,” but that doesn’t do me any good. I can’t change the past, but I can change my future. I can be the best soccer player I can be right now, here in the present. Being the best player I can be will make me a better coach. Ultimately, that I what, I care about the most. As a young coach at the high school level, I often get the chance to play with our student-athletes at practice and ‘open fields.’ So by being the best I can be on the field, I can drive them to be better players themselves. Competing against players that are better than you – and this applies to any sport, hell even things like chess, video games, and any other kind of competition – you will become better yourself. You’ll consciously or subconsciously pick up on things happening and later apply them to your skillset.
A month ago, I was about 190 pounds, probably around 25% body fat. This morning, I am 179.6 with approximately 16% body fat. I want to get both of those numbers down to about 170 lbs and 12% body fat.

Good thing I still have another 54 days!

One thing I still really need to lock in and fine-tune is my morning routine. My bedtime and waketime variability is not quite where I want it to be. You’ll often hear very successful people talk about getting up early to maximize the day. For the longest time, I thought that was hogwash. But you know what? I haven’t been anywhere near as successful in my life as all of those people. Going through this endeavor with 75 Hard has shown me there is quite a substantial amount of truth. I always find on the days when I wake up early, I get more done and breeze through my things to do in a given day. When I wake up later, I still get everything done, but it takes longer, and I’m more stressed out about getting things done. Not only this, but typically, the evening is when you want to have your free time with other people or do something relaxing. If you’re waking up later, it’s much harder to find that time for yourself and others.

My ideal morning routine would be to wake up at 6:00 A.M., walk for 45 minutes, eat a light breakfast, read, journal, do my daily affirmations, work out, and start the day. I’m writing this part for myself as a reminder that this will help me get things in motion. If you think it sounds like a good morning routine, I invite you to join me.

Footy Foster Podcast – Ep. 3

Episode 3 of the Footy Foster podcast is available now on Spotify, and will be available on YouTube this afternoon! I talked about the USMNT qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, the UNC/Duke Final Four game, as well as why I love reading and writing. Then I talked to my friend Eldin about the World Cup draw. We previewed and predicted what’s to come in November in Qatar! Eldin is a fascinating guy and has a great perspective on the beautiful game. Enjoy the show!

The USMNT is Back in the World Cup

It has been 1,632 days since the USMNT lost to Trinidad and Tobago to miss out on the 2018 iteration of the World Cup. It has been 2,828 days since the USMNT played in a World Cup. After last night’s 0-2 loss against Costa Rica, the long wait for redemption is over. The pain and humiliation of losing in Couva are behind us. The USMNT is back in the World Cup, where we belong. The future is oh so bright.

The journey to qualification started back in September with a 0-0 draw against El Salvador. The next game, a 1-1 draw with Canada in Nashville, had many USMNT supporters queasy and unsettled. The third game saw this USMNT squad hit full stride for the first time, unraveling Honduras 4-1 on the road.

This cycle saw the emergence of many young studs, such as Jedi Robinson, Yunus Musah, Luca De La Torre, Miles Robinson, Ricardo Pepi, and Brendan Aaronson. There have been downs; the 1-0 loss to Panama on matchday four, the 2-0 “dominant” loss to Canada, and dropping two points against Jamaica in Kingston. There have also been many high points; “Dos a Cero” in Cincinnatti, Pepi’s brace against Jamaica at home, the come-from-behind victory over Costa Rica in Columbus, and Pulisic’s first international hattrick just the other night against Panama.

Watching this group of players grow in the spotlight has been entertaining. Failure in 2017 placed a heavy burden on the players’ shoulders, and they coped with the pressure. The average age of our W.C. qualifying squad is just 23 years old.

Eight years ago, when the States last participated in the World Cup, I was 18 years old. I was at Myrtle Beach with seven of my friends from high school, watching the first match against Ghana. My friends’ weren’t as into soccer as I am/was, but we all watched and celebrated together as we won the game 2-1.

Here we are in the present day, eight years later. I am now 26, and my life has changed immensely since then. I went to college and dropped out; I started and quit several different jobs. I fell in love and had my heartbroken. I found my way back to the beautiful game, and my future has never seemed brighter. Coincidentally, you could say the same for the USMNT.

The program has had a turbulent eight years. In that 2014 tournament, the U.S. made it to the round of 16. They played their hearts out against a loaded Belgium squad but ultimately fell short in extra time. Then there was the apparent failure in Couva back in 2017. All that heartbreak has led to greener pastures and a brighter tomorrow.

It is unlikely that the States will win this year’s World Cup, but you never know.
In 2026, the World Cup is on home soil for the first time since 1994, nearly thirty years ago. Back then, the World Cup being played here created a talent wave that spawned this group of young internationals. The same is sure to happen in 2038-2046.

So let’s enjoy the moment. Let’s appreciate what our lads just accomplished. It is easy to take this for granted, considering the level of talent that we now possess as a soccer country. But taking things for granted is what led to Couva in 2017. Let’s enjoy this success and remain optimistic for future success.

“Football is life!” -Dani Rojas

-Footy

Footy Foster Podcast – Episode 2 W/ Drake of @SRSCards

Episode two of the podcast is out on Spotify, anchor, and on my Youtube channel! Had a lot of fun with this one. I talk about the USMNT path to Qatar after the first two games of the March qualifying window, talk further about why I quit playing XBOX, as well as give some insight into 75 Hard. Lastly, I talk about UNC facing Duke in the Final Four this coming weekend.
I also interview a longtime friend, Drake, of @SRSCards. We had a nice chat about sports, life, and old times. Hope y’all enjoy the show!

75 Hard – Two Weeks In

The end of yesterday marked 14 days that I had completed all tasks for 75 Hard. I’m still kicking myself for failing when I went down to Nashville. I’d be 28 days in after today if I hadn’t failed. But, I’m still learning that failure is just a part of life, an important one. Failure teaches us things; failure helps us grow; failure lets us know that we put in an effort. So while I wish I was 28 days into 75 Hard and not half that amount of time, I’m proud that I am 14 days in – two whole weeks. I’m pleased that I restarted. I’m proud of who I am becoming.

Original Day 1 Photo (March 2nd, 2022)
Progress Photo From Last Night (March 29, 2022)

The proof is in the pudding in these two progress photos. I didn’t think I looked all that bad when I started back at the beginning of the month. However, every time I see that picture now, I cringe. I am developing abs for the first time in my twenty-six years on this planet. My man tits are disappearing; my love handles as well. I’m taking on more “work” in my day-to-day life than I was a month ago. I’m pushing myself harder than I ever thought possible. 75 Hard is a cheat code to immense growth. Last night, I was talking on the phone with my lady friend, and she asked me what I’m going to do when 75 Hard is over. I’m going to keep the principles in place, the reading, the workouts, everything. This lifestyle has become my new normal, and I love it.

I’ll probably make tweaks to the diet. One of my workouts every day is a 45-minute walk – I’ll probably make it a 30-minute walk instead. I already drank about a gallon of water every day before starting 75 Hard, which will remain in place. The best part for me has been the reading. I used to dread reading. Now, it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. Learning is essential to human growth. So I want to read and learn as much as I can every day that I continue to draw breath.

75 Hard Diet

So I believe I have mentioned that I have been on a vegetarian diet for 75 Hard this go around, and I want to illustrate what that looks like for me daily. In addition, I have been tracking calories with “My Fitness Pal” to make sure I’m not eating too much or too little. It also helps me make sure I’m staying in a healthy range as far as nutrients and macros are concerned. The app makes it very easy to track all of this information. Getting started can be a pain, but if you are eating the same things consistently as I am, it only gets easier the longer you do it.

Breakfast

I will have some variations for breakfast depending on what exercise I am taking on later in the day. Typically, I will eat Kodiak Cakes Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal made with oat milk, an everything bagel, and a banana. Black coffee is a given. Lastly, I’ll occasionally have a glass of oat milk mixed with chocolate-flavored super greens.

Lunch

For lunches, I typically will eat another bagel or cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with some good organic butter, a Kind bar, some more fruit, and maybe a handful of Planters pistachio mix (YUM). Lunch is the most consistent meal of every deal, and I tend not to eat it all at once; instead, I will spread it out over a few hours. One variation I will have with lunch is, if I play soccer in the middle of the day, I will go to chipotle for lunch. My order is white rice, sofritas, fajita veggies, red tomatillo salsa, green salsa, cheese, and a bag of chips depending on caloric/carbohydrate needs for the day. S/O Chipotle.

Dinner

For dinners, I have had just a few go-to meals that I enjoy. The first is a “Hello Fresh: Inspired Meal, which they call Korean Bimbibop. I also make Potato Tacos, or Potato Taco bowls, depending on where I’m at for carbs on the day. Lastly, pasta with either organic alfredo sauce or tomato sauce with plant-based sausage is becoming a staple. It’s quick and easy and always hits the spot. I can link my recipes in a later blog if anyone is interested. On Friday night of this past week, I made a homemade pizza. I’ve really been craving pizza and figured the healthiest way to eat pizza was to make it myself with good fresh ingredients. 

75 Hard Exercises

So as far as a workout “routine,” I don’t have it nailed down to an exact science. I go on a 45-minute walk outside every day, usually in the morning hours. On Wednesdays and Fridays, I play indoor soccer. At least once a week, I have the chance to play basketball; the day varies, though. So on days in between high strain activities, such as basketball and soccer, I will keep my workouts relatively light to help my body recover (S/O). Whoop. That could be riding the exercise bike or elliptical machine, or the occasion lift, with my friend Dillon. I also get in a core workout three times a week. I do sit-ups, planks, Russian twists, crunches, amongst others. The most important thing I do is listen to my body daily. 

-Footy

How I Wager on Soccer, & Why I Quit Playing Video Games

How I Wager on Soccer

Before I get into this, I am not a professional bettor, or punter, as they say across the pond. I’m just a guy who watches a lot of soccer and likes to place the occasional wager on a match to make things more interesting. It is very easy to start betting too much and lose money that you cannot afford to lose. So, if you think that may be something you would have problems with, stop right there. You don’t need to wager on matches.

However, if you do not see this being an issue for your, then jump on in; the water is fine.

I first started wagering on matches years ago when I watched a lot of basketball, specifically the Golden State Warriors. I’d place small bets on them to win games because they won all the time. However, the ROI betting the money line at the start of games was minimal. They were heavily favored to win every game. So I altered my approach. I would wait for them to fall behind in the game and then place a live bet to win, especially if they were losing at halftime.

If you know anything about that Warriors basketball era, they tended to EXPLODE in the third quarter. Whether they were trailing or already had a substantial lead, the third quarter always seemed to be where everything would click, Offense, defense, transition. The third quarter is where they won a lot of their games. They knew if they could take off in the third quarter and leave the opponents with twelve minutes to play catch-up, it was a wrap.

Specifically in the 2019 WCF, in games two, three, and four, the Blazers held the lead over the Warriors at the interval. The Warriors outscored the Blazers by at least eight points in those games in the third quarter. The Warriors swept the series, and although I do not know the exact amount, they made me probably about $200 just in those three games.

Now I know $200 isn’t anything worth writing home about; however, I wasn’t placing massive bets. I was making bets of anywhere from $10 to $50. That’s it. Part of being successful in wagering sports matches is setting yourself limits that you are not willing to go beyond, so you don’t lose more money than you are ready to.
With soccer, my approach is somewhat similar. I enjoy live betting games that I’m watching because you can feel the game’s momentum and get a feel for what might happen.

For example, when Manchester United played Tottenham on March 12, I wanted to place a bet. However, I had no idea what would transpire in the match at kickoff. Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 12′; then Harry Kane equalized in the 35′. Ronaldo gave United the lead again shortly after that. At halftime, I turned to my friend Sean and said, “here’s what will happen; Tottenham will equalize again, and then Ronaldo will win the game and complete his hat-trick.” In the 72′, Tottenham equalized; rather, Harry Maguire equalized for Tottenham. I knew what to do. I opened my browser, went to my sportsbook, and placed a $40 wager on Ronaldo to score the next goal at +675, meaning that if I wager $100, I will win $675 plus my bet.

As fate would have it, Ronaldo scored the game-winner in the 81′ of the match. Sean and I exploded. I couldn’t believe that I had called it, yet I had. I think this gut feeling came down to seeing the hunger Ronaldo was playing with that day and the history of Tottenham.

Ronaldo won me $300 off of a gut feeling. Thanks for the free drinks, Cristiano.

Essentially, my approach comes down to listening to my gut and basing my thoughts and opinions on what’s happening throughout the game. On Saturday this past weekend, I made a similar wager with Arsenal and Bukayo Saka. About thirty minutes into the match, I noticed that Saka was playing very well and seemed the most likely player to score a goal. So, I listened to my gut, placed a $10 wager on the Gunners to win, and $10 on Saka to score a goal. Both happened, and it won me $40.

I don’t win every bet I place, but the thing is, you don’t need to. Place bets that have good value. Here’s an example of a losing bet that I perceived to have good value.

I kept track of the Manchester City Crystal Palace game back on the 14th. City were the favorites, and I felt they would win this game. However, they were -220 on the money line at the beginning of the match. Which means I would have to bet $220 to win $100. That isn’t great value. I waited until about fifteen minutes left in the match when the line moved to better than even money. I placed $10 on them to win at +118. They ended up drawing the game, and the bet lost. However, I would’ve made more on the bet than if I had placed the bet at kickoff if they scored. Another factor in making this bet is that I have been reading “Leading” by Sir Alex Fergusson. At the end of the book, there are a bunch of graphs about his time spent at Manchester United.

Goal Distribution by minute

Notice that United scored an overwhelming amount of goals during his tenure came at the end of either half. Late in the game, teams get tired, and the cream rises to the top. So, this was on my mind, and I thought, “this is a good bet; City are sure to win.”
However, I was wrong, but I still love the principle behind the wager I made.

Why I Quit Playing Video Games

Ever since I was about five years old, I have been obsessed with video games. Particularly sports games. I can’t quite say why that is, but the fascination has always been there. When I think back throughout my life, that has been the most consistent thing—spending too much time playing instead of living. It wasn’t that big of a deal when I was in high school. I got okay grades, mainly A’s and B’s, with the occasional C. However, after I got out of high school and went to college, it became a huge problem that I did not want to address. It held me back from living life and getting good grades in school.

Most weekends, while my friends were meeting people and making memories, I stayed in the dorm room playing FIFA. Part of that was because I didn’t have the money to go out, but that brings me right back to the issue that was really at hand; spending too much of my damn time playing Xbox. I didn’t want to get a job because that would take gaming time away. I didn’t want to go to class for the same reason. It was a vicious and endless cycle. There have been times I would sell my console, start to focus on myself and my life more, but ultimately come right back to it. This cycle has happened more times than I can count.

So here we are now, almost eight years after I first went off to college. Over the past few months, I thought, “if I can make it as a streamer/content creator, I can play all the video games that I want.”
If you check out my YouTube channel, you’ll see some FIFA videos I made, and funny enough, those videos have more views than any other video I made. But here’s the thing: I didn’t feel fulfilled doing this. It took the joy out of playing games. It made me unhappy.

We as humans aren’t meant to spend hour after hour sedentary staring at a screen (ironically, that’s what I’m doing in writing this). We’re meant to be active, to find fulfillment, and improve ourselves. Am I improving myself by sitting and playing a game marketed to children and teenagers?

So a few months back, I sold both of my Xboxes (yes, I had two of them). This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, but it should be the last time. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been before. I’m actively taking steps towards my goals and my ideal lifestyle. I feel free from the chains of my childhood.

Now, I’m not saying video games are inherently wrong for you. It just so happens that they are bad for me. Every time I have sold my consoles in the past, I start to become a better version of myself. Then I repeat the cycle, buy a new one, and fall into the same bad habits. So, if you’re reading this and think, “I don’t have a problem with games, I’m happy with where my life is and my relationship with gaming,” I’m very happy for you. Some of my best memories from high school are of nights spent playing Call of Duty with my best friends.

This photo was from a night spent at my friend Sean’s house during our sophomore year of high school. We stayed up until, god knows how late, playing the new “Call of Duty” and drinking way too many Mountain Dew’s. But the thing for me, life is about progressing and striving to be more than what you were the day before. Am I living up to that idea if I’m still acting like a teenager in my mid-twenties?
Again, I enjoy playing video games, FIFA especially. However, I’m just not at a place in my life to make it a priority. I want to think that eventually, I can play again, but I have a lot of work to do to get to that place. And I have to have the discipline to put the controller down and not spend too much time playing. I have lofty goals in place for my life, and Xbox will not help me get there.

-Footy

75 Hard/Personal Update, First Podcast Released

75 Hard One Week Update

Yesterday marked the end of week one of 75 Hard (for the second time I may add.) It’s hard to put into words exactly what this challenge has done for me over the course of this month, but to put it simply, it’s been incredible. Just look at what it’s done to my body in three weeks.

Original Day one progress picture (March 2nd, 2022)
Progress photo from last night(March 21, 2022)

Besides the obvious physical changes, I’ve really noticed a huge mental shift over the past three weeks. A mental shift that I desperately needed. It feels like “75 Hard” came to me at a time when I needed it most. The funny thing is that I did not go searching for it, it came to me. On my way home from the Cincinnati airport, I was on the phone with my friend Matt. He offhandedly said that he and our friend Dillon had started that day. I said, “shit I’ll join you guys.” I was nervous to start the challenge, but man, I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been more productive over the duration of the challenge, I’m more resilient, and hungrier to achieve things I’ve always desired to achieve. As the rapper, Nas asks, “whose world is this?” It’s mine.

I’m down five pounds since the beginning of the challenge, which puts me at ~185. My goal weight is 175.

Personal Update

On Friday of last week, I got a new job with a fantastic company called “Soccer Shots”. I will be a youth soccer coach for them, coaching two to eight-year-olds. I am super thrilled about this opportunity and simply cannot wait to get started. I love coaching, and I love being around kids. They have such pure and wholesome energy that reminds you how simple life is supposed to be. This is going to be a lot of fun, and I anticipate it helping me continue my development as a young man and also as a coach.

In addition, I have a few more things I’m working on behind the curtain, but nothing that I can share as of now. Stay tuned for big things!

Footy Foster Podcast Episode One

Yesterday marked the debut of my very own podcast! It is available on Spotify and YouTube. My podcast will be my own – meaning that I will talk about whatever is on my mind for that week. This week I talked about Arsenal’s topsy turvy week in the EPL, the Round of Sixteen in the Champions League, and outlined what the USMNT needs to do this week to qualify for Qatar. In addition, I interview my friend Trey and got his perspective on his newfound interest in soccer, amongst many other things. It was a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to get back on the mic for Episode Two!

-Footy

USMNT March World Cup Qualifying Roster and Preview

On Thursday, March 18th, Gregg Berhalter went live on ESPN to announce his selection of players for this month’s last round of World Cup Qualification games. With automatic qualification not guaranteed for the Stars & Stripes yet, there were a lot of eyeballs on his roster choices. Below is the full 27 man squad called up.

It is worth noting, at the time of writing, it has been announced that Sergiño Dest has been replaced by George Bello, following Dest’s hamstring injury in FC Barcelona’s Europa League victory yesterday. This gives the squad even numbers at the outside back position on either side of the pitch. Notable exclusions from the 27 man squad are John Brooks of Wolfsburg, Josh Sargent of Norwich, and Weston McKinnie – who is out for the remainder of the season at Juventus with a foot injury. Another surprising note about the roster is the inclusion is Aaron Long, who has only recently come back from an Achilles injury.

All in all, this is the most satisfied I’ve been with a Berhalter WCQ squad since this endeavor began back in September. I personally wanted to see Sargent in the squad, but I don’t get to make the decisions, Berhalter does.
Of course, people on social media were upset with the roster – which was always going to be the case no matter what. That’s part of the job with coaching. Making decisions that not everyone is going to be happy with. So these are the 27 young men that we Outlaws will hang our hopes on.

As far as the three upcoming games go, this undoubtedly is the most difficult window of this iteration of World Cup qualifying. The three opponents, in order, are: away at Mexico (where we haven’t won a World Cup Qualifier since 1934), home against Panama (who gave us our first loss of this WCQ cycle back in October), and away to Costa Rica. All three teams are still in the running for both automatic qualification, as well as the fourth-place playoff birth spot.

So, here’s the good news. Four points put us safe from disqualification, and five points guarantee automatic qualification (assuming Panama and Costa Rica cannot overcome the eight-goal advantage that we hold over both teams in goal difference). At home, the US is 5-1-0 in WQC earning 2.6 points per match, and conceding only twice over six matches.

Now, the bad news. We only have one home game this window. That game against Panama is an absolute must-win. Our record away from home in WCQ is pretty awful. In five games, we’ve picked up 5 points from a possible fifteen with a record of 1-2-2, earning just a point per match. If we take out the drubbing of Honduras away out of the equation, we’ve scored just one goal and conceded four in those four games.

Looking at things from a “points per match perspective”, we are actually in good shape. We average ~nearly~ three points per match at home and exactly one point per match on the road. With two road games and one home game, that would give us the magic number of five points that we need to earn our spot in this year’s iteration of the World Cup to be played in Qatar. However, averages don’t guarantee anything, results do.

The absolute worst-case scenario is three losses. Mexico has a relatively easy window, with the USA at home, away to Honduras, and home against El Salvador. They very easily could have a nine-point window. Panama has to play Honduras at home, travel to the states for a match with us, then back to Honduras to face off with group leading Canada. Costa Rica plays Canada at home, El Salvador on the road, and home against the States. My current prediction for each teams window is as follows:

USA: @ Mexico – L | V. Panama – W | @ Costa Rica – D

Points: 4 | 25

Costa Rica: V. Canada – L | @ El Salvador – W | V. USA – D

Points: 4 |20

Panama: V. Honduras – W | @ USA – L | V. Canada L

Points: 3 |20

Mexico: V. USA – W | @ Honduras – W | V El Salvador W

Points: 9 | 30

In this scenario, Mexico would leapfrog the US for second place, but we would be safe in third place. Fourth place would be even between Panama and Costa Rica and would come down to goal difference.

Now, let’s imagine that shit hits the fan and we lose all three games, and the other results stay the same.

USA: @ Mexico – L | V. Panama – L | @ Costa Rica – L

Points: 0 | 21

Costa Rica: V. Canada – L | @ El Salvador – W | V. USA – W

Points: 6 |22

Panama: V. Honduras – W | @ USA – W | V. Canada L

Points: 6 |23

Mexico: V. USA – W | @ Honduras – W | V El Salvador W

Points: 9 | 30

This is the doomsday scenario. Luckily, we’ve only lost two games for the duration of qualifying, so it’s very hard to imagine us losing three games in a single window. That first game against Mexico is crucial to setting the tone for the rest of the window. If we can pick up a point at the Estadio Azteca, we will be in relatively great shape for the rest of the way. It is worth noting that we did win a point in Mexico back in 2017., although these are two very different teams nearly five years later.

It’s long been said that the road to qualification out of CONCACAF has been to pick up a point on the road and win at home. It’s no different now in March of 2022.

I BELIEVE!

I Failed 75 Hard

I lasted ten days doing 75 Hard. But that does not mean I’m quite done with this endeavor yet.

Last week, I traveled to Denver, Colorado, to see about a job opportunity. I left Tuesday morning and came back to Ohio on Friday morning. When I got back to the airport in Cincinnatti, I decided to drive down to Nashville for the weekend to see one of my best friends in the world. The drive took about five hours. On the way down there, I told myself I was going to get in both workouts – the only thing I had to do to complete the challenges for the day. However, when I arrived in Nashville, it was dark and cold, and I convinced myself that it was too late to complete them both. My friend and his girlfriend wanted to go get dinner, and I didn’t want them to have to wait for an hour and a half. So I failed. At that point, I decided to recalibrate for the weekend, let loose and enjoy myself. My diet on Friday actually wasn’t bad. I had a bagel in the morning before leaving for the airport in Denver. I had some coffee at the airport in Cincinnati and didn’t eat again until I went to dinner with my friend and his lady.

However, I went a little off the rails on Saturday and Sunday, eating a Bojangles chicken biscuit for breakfast, and a Philly Cheesesteak for dinner. Sunday I consumed a burger and fries, a slice of pizza, Chipotle, and lots of alcohol both days I was down there. Not exactly a surprise that my stomach was in shambles the entire weekend.

All that being said, today is a new day. I’m back home, I cleared my head, and got all of that shit out of my system. I’m disappointed that I fell off track, but at the same time, I had an incredible and much-needed weekend of fun. So today, I’m restarting 75 Hard.

This time, I’ve restructured my diet. I’m going to try a vegetarian diet for the first time in my life. There are a few reasons for doing so. First of all, I have a friend who is very near and dear to my heart, who believes in veganism and has been a vegan for 3 years. She is a huge inspiration in giving this a try. The second reason is that this diet will be a challenge for me. I’ve been eating meat for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been a huge fan of vegetables, so I feel like this will help me get over the mental block that is eating veggies.

I’m also going to do a more rigid exercise routine – primarily based on improving my body for soccer. I coach high school soccer and am pursuing a career in coaching the beautiful game. So, following an exercise routine that I can use in the future for my players, and learning it intimately will be a challenge, albeit a very rewarding one.

As for the reading portion of 75 Hard, I managed to pick up a handful of soccer and coaching books while I was in Nashville. This adds to my library of coaching resources, and I’m absolutely thrilled to digest all of the information within these pages. I anticipate learning a lot and becoming a better coach because of these books. The book I’m currently reading is “Leading” by Alex Ferguson. I feel like I’ve learned a lot already, but still have a lot to learn. Why not learn from the best?

One final note – I’m very proud of myself for restarting this endeavor. The old me would not even bother to restart the challenge. But I’m determined to see it through and continue growing as a coach and as a man. Over the next two and a half months I will continue to share my progress as well as insights I pick up while undergoing this venture. Let’s get after it.

Thank you for reading along, I hope this is able to inspire others to want for more, and desire to strive to be a better version of themselves. Peace & love y’all.

-Footy

An American Man is a Premier League Manager

No, I’m not referring to the heartwarming and hilarious comedy show on Apple TV, Ted Lasso. I’m talking about Jesse Marsch. Jesse’s rise to being a manager in what is arguably the toughest football league in the world is just as heartwarming and inspiring as the hit TV show.

Jesse’s footballing career began at Princeton where he was an All-American Midfielder for the Tigers. He then went on to play for three different MLS clubs racking up over 300 appearances in the United State’s top league. His professional career began in 1996, the inaugural season of the league, and spanned 14 years, his last game being played in 2009. In total, he netted 31 goals over his decade and a half-long playing career. From there, he ventured into coaching.

After a year off, he began to work with the National Team as an assistant. His former college and club coach, Bob Bradley brought him under his wing. He spent about a year with the national team before being handed the reigns of then expansion team, Montreal Impact.

Marsch spent a full season there before an amicable split, that saw him end up as the head coach of New York Red Bulls, a move that would prove pivotal in his climb as a manager. New York Red Bulls, is owned by the energy drink company we all know, Red Bull. Red Bull also owns two other football clubs, RB Salzburg in Austria, and RB Leipzig in Germany. After two and a half seasons in New York, Marsch made the leap to Leipzig where he was an assistant under the current interim manager of Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick. Just a year later, he was promoted to head coach of Austrian-based Salzburg. Marsch spent two years as manager of the Austrian team, posting an impressive 68% win percentage.

He was promoted again to become the head coach of the German-based Red Bull squad, Leipzig, where he didn’t quite enjoy the same success that he saw in Austria. Spending less than half a season there, and only 21 games in charge, he was dropped as manager after the squad failed to maintain expectations.

That (Leeds) us to today. Sorry for that. Just a week or so ago, legendary coach Marcelo Bielsa was released by Leeds United, after a disappointing start to the 2021-2022 Premier League campaign. Insert Jesse Marsch. Marsch was selected to become the next manager at Leeds United- one of the biggest clubs in England- and assigned the task of keeping them in the Premier League. This is an absolutely massive stepping stone in his career and an inspiration for the entire country in terms of football (soccer) progress.

Twenty years ago, it would have been unfathomable to think that an American could or ever would be the manager of a Premier League squad. Yet here we are.

Leeds lost their first game under his guidance but seemingly improved upon their recent performances in which they had been conceding goals like it was what they were supposed to do. Over their last five matches, Leeds had conceded 20 goals/game. Today they conceded just the one, whilst being a little unlucky to not find the back of the net.

Leeds’ are currently 16th in the table, just three points from the safety of relegation. They have 11 matches to go in the competition after today’s match with Leicester City. I’ll be one of Marsch’s biggest supporters from across the pond, and will watch every match that I can.