Fuel Soccer Talk: Special Edition – Dealing with life on the road for soccer players and their families

On Tuesday, the USA faced Canada in the Concacaf Nations League in Toronto (a 2-0 loss – first loss to Canada since 1985). Before the game, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said: “I think Canada has a good team. They are strong at home, and for us it’s a great test. We want to be able to go on the road and perform well, and part of it is starting that journey of road games together. This is a great example of that.”

Berhalter called it his team’s first big road test.

Preparing for a game on the road is much different than being at home. There are the obvious issues of logistics. There is dealing with unfamiliarity which can lead to stress. Being on the road can take one out of their comfort zone. Well, we have some ways to ease the stress and provide a little comfort for not only players but their families as well.

Erika Sharp, RD, CSSD, is the director of nutrition for Pro/Elite Sports. She understands how difficult it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle for families on the move, especially for families traveling to soccer tournaments every weekend. Sharp provided a list of some things families can do to stay healthy while on the road.

BRING A WATER BOTTLE. Hydration is a huge part of daily life and athletic performance so it makes sense that this is No. 1. Pack a refillable water bottle (ideally with some insulation) so you can fill up often.

PACK A COOLER WITH A SEPARATE CONTAINER FOR ICE. Game days and especially tournaments turn into very long days, typically in warm environments. Pack a cooler to keep your beverages cold and snacks safe from food-borne illnesses. Adding a separate container dedicated for ice for your drinks takes it to the next level.

REQUEST A ROOM WITH A FRIDGE AND MICROWAVE. As simple as this sounds, most hotel rooms do not have these standard. Call ahead and make sure you have these in your room.

RESEARCH THE AREA. Locate and identify the following within a 10-minute drive from your hotel or soccer complex for those last-minute trips: Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Sandwich Stops and Healthy Food Stores.

SNACKS! SNACKS! SNACKS! This is a big one and can come in many different forms. It is important to have options depending on what mood, mindset or need your athlete has. Pre-packaged snacks are readily available at grocery stores and most gas stations. Stock up on these easy grab-n-go items, like: cheese sticks, yogurt, pretzels, bars (protein and granola), fruit cups, apple sauce, beef jerky, and trail mix. Whole fruit is great because it comes in its own wrapper, popular choices are grapes, apples, oranges and bananas. Half time or between games are key opportunities to add more fuel or start the recovery process. Peanut butter balls, PB&Js, and sandwiches are quick ways to get them ready for their next move.

VARIETY PACKS. Tournament weekends can be long days and having some variety can make all the difference. Try out the variety packs of different bars, sports drinks, fruits, and snack mixes to help excite the fueling process for you and your players.


QUESTION: What tips do you have for soccer families or players hitting the road? Let’s put our own list together. Send your suggestions to Terry Jacoby at

Wesmen women’s soccer team hits the road

And here is a great video from the Wesmen women’s soccer team and their road trip through Minnesota and Wisconsin in late August of this year to open its non-conference season. Enjoy!

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