One of the most celebrated players in the history of American soccer didn't always get enough fluids before matches. Early in his career, Landon Donovan unfortunately developed a negative attitude about drinking water. Why? In decades past, coaches often made anyone asking for a water break feel weak or inferior.
"Growing up, I assumed that drinking water was submission," says Donovan. It's not, of course. Staying hydrated is essential for athletes at all levels. Avoiding water during workouts can increase the risk of overheating, which degrades performance.
Donovan's playing career has included stints with the German club Bayer Leverkusen and the MLS's San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy. After struggling to get used to German culture, he was loaned to the Earthquakes, where he achieved outstanding success. He is one of only eight players with 60 career goals and 60 career assists in MLS. But Donovan truly became the face of American soccer during the 2010 World Cup, when he led the U.S. to the knockout stage after netting an epic, last second goal against Algeria to win Group C.
Donovan's performance on the pitch improved once he understood the need to take in water before and during training and competition. He also discovered the benefits of going beyond H2O. Hesays, "What I realized is, if you don't have magnesium, potassium, electrolytes, basic sugars, and basic sodium in your system with water, it's not going to help. That's what Gatorade provides. It's a simple, easy way to prevent yourself from dehydrating."
Donovan is now the all-time leading scorer for the Galaxy and a featured member of Team USA. As the youngest American to reach 100 caps (international appearances), he's helped make it possible for other Americans to play overseas against world-class competition and excel.
Donovan now knows how to fuel up. "When I get to the stadium I usually drink half a Gatorade," he says, "just to make sure I have that in me. And that's on top of keeping fluids in my body all day."
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