Changing Lives Through Sports and Good Nutrition
By: Jonathan dos Santos, International Soccer Player and Herbalife Nutrition Sponsored Athlete
Since joining the LA Galaxy in July 2017, I’ve pushed myself physically and mentally to new heights in my sports career. Having Herbalife Nutrition as one of the main partners of the team means that our trainings have a very strong focus on sports nutrition, which is crucial for high performance athletes.
What came as a pleasant surprise to me, is that such a partnership also entails meaningful community experiences.
Traveling is one of the perks of being a professional athlete, and I’ve been lucky enough to be in quite a few countries. But the trip I recently took to Jakarta and Japan with Herbalife Nutrition and a few of my teammates was different and special.
The Power of Good Nutrition
In December 2018, me and four other LA Galaxy players – Emmanuel Boateng, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, and Baggio Husidic – embarked on a one-week Asia tour. We visited Jakarta and Bali in Indonesia, and Tokyo and Yokohama in Japan.
We took part in various activities with young children. From sports nutrition trainings, to fitness camps and coaching clinics, our purpose was to spread the message of the power of good nutrition.
But the best thing was meeting kids who benefit from the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation’s Casa Herbalife programs. Playing with them was incredible; they were so excited when we arrived! It amazed me that kids from across the world recognized the LA Galaxy team. It made me think about the power that sport has to transform lives. I know it transformed mine.
The Importance of Kindness and Support
When I was just 11 years old, my family and I moved to Barcelona, Spain. They were so supportive and encouraging of my dream to become a professional soccer player. They have always been my motivation and if it hadn’t been for them and the effort they put in, I wouldn’t be where I currently am today.
That is why the opportunity to be with the kids from Casa Herbalife programs humbles me. It reminded me of how important it is to be kind to people, to be a positive role model, to be supportive of goals and dreams, and most importantly: to treat them the same as you would like to be treated.
It was a great joy to be able to make children smile by playing soccer with them, shaking their hand, or giving them an autograph. Being a professional athlete is a great pride and spreading the joy I get from it it’s the most rewarding thing for me.
A New Sense of Purpose
This experience has allowed me to put my values in action. It was a great reminder of what I hold high: hard work, being humble and grateful, and spreading joy through my passion for playing soccer.
Good nutrition is crucial for professional athletes: our careers depend on it. If you eat right, you will most likely feel more energized and perform better. But good nutrition should be available to anyone, whether they are an athlete or a young child. Being part of a company that strives to provide kids with food subsidies, nutrition education, and other projects to improve their nutrition is a purpose I can get behind and am proud to support.