Matt Poland (@mpoland16) is a professional soccer player who is passionate about health and fitness. Earlier this year, he was sidelined due to a knee injury, and MixABar has been an important part of his recovery. Matt graciously took time out of his day to answer a few of our questions. We will continue to check in with him until he returns to the soccer field.
MixABar: Why did you decide to become a professional soccer player?
Matt: I had the dream to play professionally since I was a kid. It was something I always loved and wanted to make it my career.
MixABar: What is it like to play in front of so many fans?
Matt: It is amazing! The atmosphere of a big game and the crowd cheering makes for such memorable moments.
MixABar: Can you explain your injury? How did it happen? Is there anything that you could have done differently that might have avoided the injury?
Matt: In a game earlier this season I was defending an opponent and when I cut to track him my foot got caught in the ground and I dislocated my knee, tore my ACL, and did a complex tear of my meniscus. There was nothing I could have done differently it was just a freak accident on a movement I have done millions of times in my career.
MixABar: As you work towards getting back on the field, do you have a support system (friends, family, colleagues) to help make ends meet?
Matt: The support of those around me are the only reason I have the energy and motivation to go through this process. My family and friends have been an amazing support system to keep me motivated and focused on the long-term goals.
MixABar: It must be tough being on the sidelines, but we are inspired by your tenacity and positive attitude. What challenges do you see in getting back on the field? How do you keep a positive mindset?
Matt: There are many unknowns on the journey back to playing pro soccer. I have found it is easier to make everyday a challenge and make goals to accomplish that day. Back to playing could take between 9-12 months so having smaller challenges to attack allow my competitive nature a healthy outlet daily. Part of having a positive mindset is not finding my identity in myself as just a soccer player. I view myself as more than an athlete with other interests and talents and this gives me time to focus on some of those areas.
MixABar: Physical therapy and rehabilitation must be grueling. What does a typical day look like for you?
Matt: A typical day involves rehab and pt that can be pretty physically draining. I also try to get a lift in or some cardio work later in the day so that I don’t lose everything I have worked so hard to get. Obviously, a lot of time is still spent with the leg elevated and icing to help keep the swelling down. I have really come to count on MixABar as a crucial component to my rehab process. I often eat a bar in between my PT and workouts so that I have the energy I need to work hard and help recover. I also will mix it with my breakfast in the morning and it is a fast and healthy way to get the nutrients I need. I am so thankful for MixABar because it allows me to eat healthy even when I am on the go, which is so important as I go through rehab!
MixABar: Thanks so much for your time Matt. We know this is a challenging time for you and we wish you a speedy recovery.