Enjoying the World Cup? Here Are 10 Professional Soccer Players Who Are Vegan - Mercy For Animals
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Enjoying the World Cup? Here Are 10 Professional Soccer Players Who Are Vegan

The 2018 FIFA World Cup games in Russia are underway, and to get you pumped, we’ve compiled a list of awesome vegan professional soccer players.

Countless studies have shown that a plant-based diet is perfect for meeting an athlete’s calorie and protein demands. In fact, these soccer players are part of a long list of top-notch athletes who’ve reaped the benefits of a plant-based diet, including NFL players David Carter and Colin Kaepernick, bodybuilder and strongman competitor Patrik Baboumian, NBA star JaVale McGee, and tennis champ Serena Williams.

But of course, eating plant-based foods isn’t just great for your health; it also protects the planet and spares farmed animals lives of misery.

Pigs, cows, and chickens at factory farms are treated as mere objects. Their short lives are filled with suffering and pain. They’re subjected to extreme confinement, barbaric mutilations, and violent deaths.

These 10 professional soccer players prove you can thrive on a healthy and compassionate vegan diet.

1. Sergio Agüero

The Argentine player went vegan after his doctor recommended it last year in preparation for Agüero’s participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

2. Héctor Bellerín

The Spanish side of the Arsenal of England ditched animal products at the beginning of the season for health reasons and attributes the overall improvement of his physical condition to this decision: “At first I wanted to try it for a couple of weeks to detoxify my body and those things, but I felt so good after that I’ve been doing it for more than six months.”

3. Lionel Messi

The talented Argentine player switched to a vegan diet during the season to be in top condition for the World Cup games. He reportedly consumes many fresh fruits and vegetables. By leaving animal products off his plate, Messi has improved his performance, managed to lose about three kilos, and reduced his risk of muscle injuries.

4. Meghan Klingenberg

Klingenberg is an American soccer defender who currently plays for the Portland Thorns in the National Women’s Soccer League and the United States women’s national soccer team. In 2016 the professional athlete went vegan and hasn’t looked back: “I’ve never felt fitter; I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve actually lifted more in the weight room.”

5. Sebastián Pérez

The Boca Juniors Colombian midfielder went vegan at the beginning of 2018 for ethical reasons. When asked about his decision to adopt a plant-based diet, Perez replied: “For me, the world belongs to all living beings. That’s the reason for my decision and the respect I have for animals.” (MFA’s translation)

6. Russell Martin

The Norwich City FC player from England went vegan after suffering from ulcerative colitis, and since ditching animal products he’s noticed improvements in his overall physical performance.

Although Martin went vegan for health reasons, he’s now more aware of the ethical implications: “With the passage of time it has become [an ethical decision] because when you investigate and stop eating animal products, you realize how bad they are treated and you wonder what right we have to eat them.

7. Alex Morgan

Morgan is a forward for the Orlando Pride, an Olympic gold medalist, and a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion. In early 2018, the animal-loving athlete tweeted that she had adopted a vegan diet.

8. Jermaine Defoe

The striker for the AFC Bournemouth Premier League club and the English national team was inspired to go plant-based by the documentary What the Health, which shows the many health problems linked to eating animal products. Defoe credits his vegan diet with preventing muscle injuries and providing more energy.

9. Heather Mitts

Heather Mitts is a former professional soccer defender. She played in the Women’s Professional Soccer League for the Philadelphia Charge, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, and Atlanta Beat. She is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist and played in four matches in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the U.S. national team finished second. A proud vegan activist, Mitts often shares information about animal rights on social media.

10. Fabian Delph

The English soccer player switched to a plant-based diet earlier this year and believes it’s key to maintaining his overall well-being: “I feel that my new lifestyle is key to my state and my overall outlook on life. Strengthening how I view things on the whole.

Inspired to give veganism a try? Click here to get started. And check out our Pinterest page for thousands of recipe ideas!