Growing up in a small town along the California coast, Hejduk spent as much time in the ocean as he did on a soccer field. In fact, pre- and post-practice, he could be found surfing three days a week, for two hours at a time, all summer long. "[It was] one of the reasons why I stayed fit [growing up]," says the MLS veteran and U.S. national team defender.
Surfing is a full-body workout. Paddling to catch waves and diving under water strengthen both the arms and lungs. Leg and core muscles power getting up and balancing on the board. Fighting currents along the way adds to the challenge.
Coincidently, the same muscle groups are just as important on the soccer field. Strong legs, core and lungs help to develop stamina. They certainly allowed two-sport athlete Hejduk to run around his opponents and into MLS without stopping to catch his breath.
"My surf buddies only surfed, [and] my soccer buddies mostly just played soccer," says Hejduk, who was a member of his high school's state and national championship surfing team and was the 1988 National Junior High School Surfing Champion. "I was doing that extra bit more…and you're going to get to that next level by doing that little bit extra than the guy next to you."
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