In March, when Major League Soccer begins its 18th season, fans will be looking for a fresh infusion of talent as they mourn the departure of MLS’s biggest name, David Beckham. Enter San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, who grew up playing ball just a short drive from the Quakes’ home field and is now one of the league’s most dangerous strikers: in 2012, he tied the single-season scoring record with 30 goals, earning a league MVP award. Here’s how Wondo copes with MLS’s brutal eight-month, 34-game schedule—give or take a playoff run.
MIND THE GRASS: “You can run on a treadmill all day, but when you get out on the field, it’s a whole different level. That’s why I try and do most of my fitness on the grass, outside.”
CRUISE CONTROL: “I like the freedom I have during the off-season to do what I want. I know my body. I can ramp it up when I’m feeling it or take it easy when I need to.”
KNOW THY SELF: “Know your weaknesses. I can keep my motor going for 90 minutes or more, but I’m not a good sprinter. To work on my speed, I run a hill by my house. It’s not huge, but doing repeats on it gets the job done.”
SHARP SHOOTER: “Four days a week, I rope a few of the goalies into staying after practice so I can work on shooting. For me that’s just as important as fitness.”
ALPHA EATS OMEGA: “The U.S. Men’s National Team had a nutritionist talk to us about our diet. He recommended fish oil for omega-3’s, which is supposed to help with brain function and eyesight. I’ve taken it ever since.”
AVOVADO ADVOCACY: “I couldn’t survive a week without avocado. It’s my go-to. It’s a little bit on the fatty side, but I love the taste.”
POSITIVE VISION: “Positive thinking works. The night before a game, I visualize myself playing well. I’ve been doing it since high school. I like to see the ball hit the back of the net.”