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How a Soccer Coach Trains

Anthony Hudson, head of the U.S. under-20 men’s national soccer team, on his daily routine

Anthony Hudson
Photo: Lisa Predko

Coaching has taken Hudson all over the world, from New Zealand to Bahrain to Commerce City, a suburb of Denver that’s home to the Colorado Rapids. In January, it brought him to Chicago as the new head of the U.S. under-20 men’s national soccer team. Here’s how the 39-year-old — who lives in the South Loop with his Rhodesian ridgebacks — stays calm in his high-stakes career.

Training routine

“Between six and seven times a week, I warm up by jogging with the dogs to the lake. Then I take them home and go for a proper run. Some days I’ll do a 5K and try to go as quickly as I can. Or I’ll do high-intensity interval training, a minute on, a minute off, for 15 repetitions. Then I do 20 to 30 minutes of strength work. If I’m at the gym, it’s pull-ups, bench press, and other free weights. At home, I have a pull-up bar and I’ll do sit-ups and pushups.”

Mental fitness

“The biggest benefit I get is psychological. I have to do something every day where I reach the point where I want to stop, then push myself. You strengthen your willpower by doing things you don’t necessarily want to do.”

Dietary philosophy

“I don’t think about losing weight but about how food makes me feel. I try to eat clean Monday through Thursday — lots of greens and vegetables, maybe a stir-fry or pasta with red sauce. Toward the weekend, I allow myself stuff I enjoy, like a burger from Morton’s Steakhouse. I do intermittent fasting: I eat dinner at 6 or 7, then don’t eat again until noon the next day.”

Supplement skepticism

“Unless I’m diagnosed by a doctor or something’s wrong, I try to get all my nutrients from food. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve gotten really into supplements, and I never noticed a difference. I feel just as good if I take care of myself and try to get my diet right.”

On-the-job pressure

“Soccer, more than most sports, has a lower threshold for [unsatisfactory] results. I don’t think there are many managers who have not been sacked or fired. The question becomes, How do you build your career, see it as a journey, and grow from your experiences?”

Going for goals

“I’ll always have targets, whether it’s making the World Cup or having an impact on soccer in this country. I write them in a journal. Then, on a legal pad, I write down the specifics of obtaining them, what I need to put in my daily routine. I’m quite tough on myself if I don’t stick to them. It’s the better version of me, holding myself accountable.”

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