Gamedays are special. They will forever be special. Those are the days you want as a soccer player. All week long you prepare for gameday. That is why when that day has finally come, it always feels good! With this post I want to share of how I approach gameday, what some superstitions are, what I do in order to perform the best way possible and just my overall routine. I will try to run through certain scenarios with earlier and later kickoff times and then in the end I’ll give a specific example of what I did before the home game against FC Dallas to give you a better idea of how what it actually looks like.

My schedule on gamedays really all depends on the kickoff time. Later kickoff times make the day longer and earlier kickoff times make it shorter, but they leave some more room post-game. I usually don’t like to set an alarm in the morning, giving my body enough time to rest until I am ready to wake up on my own. That changes with earlier kickoff times, however, since I need to get going and wake up for what’s ahead. In order to get my legs moving and the blood flowing, Casey, Freddy and I usually walk to get some coffee nearby and just kind of talk about the timing of the rest of the game or the opponent we are facing that day. Casey makes my life easy and really let’s me dictate what I want to do before I have to be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. After the walk, we usually just get back home, I have some breakfast and it’s a pretty lazy morning with either some Bundesliga soccer or some Premier League Soccer. Sometimes I play some PlayStation or FaceTime my family if timing works out. If kickoff is later in the day I usually have a snack at home. Kind of just going off how I feel, so if I am hungry it’s a little more and if I’m not hungry, I won’t eat much. We always get a meal at the stadium 3.5 to 4 hours before the game and that is really where I want to be hungry. We meet at the stadium 4 hours before kickoff and I usually start getting ready to leave the house an hour and a half before that. I sometimes shave that majestic beard of mine (lol) then jump in the shower and just get ready to head to the stadium. Before leaving, I give Freddy a big hug, ask him to give me a good luck kiss (which he usually does) and then Casey and I drive to the stadium. On the way there, we always listen to the same songs and turn it up quite a bit so we can both sing along. She usually drops me off and then heads back home since it’s still a long time before kickoff.

When we get to MBS and the locker room, we all eat together and just hang out. Some get treatment and some watch TV until we have our final meeting before we go meet all the supporters. There are usually quite good discussions of what we should watch. Bundesliga being my number one pick, but it usually ends up being a Premier League match or another MLS game. After the walk through the fans, that’s when everybody really has their own routines and we start fully focusing on the game in front of us. I get adjusted by our chiropractor, then foam roll my legs, get tapped, do a little activation (core, lower body), and then we head out for warmups. Once we meet at the stadium 4 hours before, it really is the same routine every time. It doesn’t matter what time it is or what kind of a game it is. The funny thing is that is also feels the same way every time. No matter if kickoff is at 1pm or 7pm. I kind of like that, because I always know what to expect and there is a level of consistency when getting to MBS.

After the game finishes and we get back to the locker room, our coach usually gives a speech of what he thought of the game and what’s to come for the week ahead. After that I sometimes take an ice bath and get some treatment before jumping in the shower. For some reason I always take a sprite with me there. I’m not really sure why I do that, just kind of became a habit. I usually only drink soda after games and I guess that just became my immediate little reward after the week. After I am done showering and talking to media, I meet Casey on the field and we head home. Win or loose Freddy is always excited to see me, and I usually tell him all about the game. If we don’t have set plans with friends, we decide pretty quickly on what to get for dinner. From there on out it’s really just about getting some food and enjoying my family and friends.

         I hope this gives you a good idea of what my days look like for home games. As an example, let’s run through the day of our game against FC Dallas. I woke up around 9 am, which gave me a solid ten hours of sleep. Casey and I had a slow morning, but we still went on our little activation walk (it was pretty cold outside actually). Got back home, had some oatmeal for breakfast and tuned into the second half of the Bayern game. Then just hung out and watched some more TV until I went in the shower before heading to the stadium. As you can see, nothing special going on that day. Since it was an early kickoff, there really wasn’t much time at home. At the stadium, it was business as usual and very similiar to how I described it above. Unfortunately, the result didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Afterwards, we went out to dinner with the Parkhurst family and some friends were in town that Casey and I met for a quick drink to catch up. Overall, the night could have been quite a bit better had the result gone our way, but meeting friends and trying to get my mind off soccer always helps me get ready for the next week. 

          I hope this post gives you a better idea of what my gamedays look like. Having set routines and a schedule helps me prepare the best way possible and then hopefully perform at a high level. Do you as fans have any set routines before games or superstitions? 

Back at it Saturday against Colorado. Let’s get our first home win of the season!

See you then, 


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Christy

    I love reading your blogs. Not only are you my favorite player but it is also nice to know what the players go through on game day and in life in general.
    We are season ticket holders and only miss a game when son has a soccer game but since we have the MLS Direct TV package we never miss watching a game. That being said our only routine would be regardless of the day we wear ATL gear (Tshirt, jersey, scarves etc) on game day. If it is during the week we change into our gear after work and before the game.
    Good Luck Saturday!! We unfortunately will not be at that game since my son’s U15 team is playing at the same time.

  2. Joel

    How does the team feel about doing the whole bus routine and walking thru the fans? I don’t know of any of MLS team that does that and it just seems like a nice tradition started for Atlanta.

    1. Gresselmania24

      I can only speak for myself here, but I think that it has become part of my routine and it is nice to be close to the fans. It also gives me a chance to really split up the time at MBS easily. Before the walk through the fans, everything is a bit more casual and afterwards it becomes all geared towards the game. Therefore, I like it and think that it is a very cool thing the club has created in terms of connecting fans and players before a home game.

  3. Amy Wesberry

    This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing. At our house we make sure we have on our team gear, have good snacks to eat, and yell a lot of “Atlanta!” followed every time by “United!” Win, lose, or draw we love and support this team and bleed red and black. Thanks for going out there week after week and giving your all, but most importantly, thanks for setting a good example for my 14 year old son of what a dedicated team player looks like!

  4. Kristin

    How does your routine change before an away game?

    1. Gresselmania24

      Away games a very different in a way where we are just sitting in the hotel rooms and kind of just wait for kickoff. If kickoff is late in the day, we usually have optional breakfast followed by mandatory activation (roll out & stretch) then just more down time. A couple meals depending on kickoff time and then a meeting right before we head to the stadium.

  5. Eliana Marginean

    This is great, Julian! Thank you for sharing with us, keep them coming ????

  6. Jess

    I love that. Freddy is an important member of the family who gives good luck kisses and sits patiently to hear about your day. What a kind heart you have!

  7. Mark L

    Thanks for sharing. Very interesting. I’m suprised you don’t eat that much before the pregame meal. Do you have a dietian that helps you?

    1. Gresselmania24

      I don’t have a dietitian at the moment. I just go of how I feel and I’m usually not that hungry on gamedays in general. I know, however, how important nutrition is so I am very conscious of what I eat and how it affects me for the game or after the game. For example, I found out that I can’t eat raw vegetables or salads before the game because it would cause bad stomach cramps after the game. I usually stick to very plain and simple carbs and proteins throughout the day.

  8. Nando somoza

    The main thing we do before the game is to have a couple cold beers in hand before kickoff so that I can cool my throat down after yelling GRESSELMANIA! ???? Keep playing hard! Looking forward to seeing your upcoming merch!

  9. Marvin sanchez

    Keep maintaining the level of consistency we can depend on and the level of passion is surely displayed! Thanks for connecting with your fans!

  10. Shahina

    Thanks for sharing how you prep for game days! It gives a good insight and makes you relateable. And its nice to treat yourself after a long week too! Do you have any superstitions when you arrive at the stadium? Any unique things you might do before hitting the field?

    1. Gresselmania24

      I don’t have any big superstitions that would really mess me up mentally if I didn’t do them (if that makes sense). I usually just do the same few things that I know work for me. So things like – same food, same exercises to activate, the warm up is usually the same every time.

  11. Tony O

    What other teams do you follow in the Bundesliga/Premier League?

  12. Tim Berrigan

    Thanks for this blog Julian, and for your insights on game prep and routine. Also, thank you and your teammates for the class with which you represent our City. My wife and I both agree AUFC has truly united Atlanta and Georgia. Congrats on your marriage, too, very happy for you both!

    We drive down from Roswell for the games and have to leave two hours early in order to catch warm ups and usually blare “We Ready”, “All the Way Turned Up”, and “Georgia Rhythm” (old Atlanta Rhythm Section song, great tune). We each used to get a pimiento cheese sandwich for warm ups, but we abandoned that after the rough start this season. She won’t eat pregame anymore, and I’ve added a beer to whatever I eat to calm my nerves.

    I watch highlights and have a beer before bed (or more depending on game outcome).

  13. RobbE33@theBranch

    For the locker room wall:
    “What Atlanta wants: excellence is revered, but excellence with swagger is adored,” Dominique Wilkins.

  14. William K

    This blog is so cool – thanks for sharing these insights with us as fans Julian! I’m curious, does your routine change depending on how many games there are in the week? For example, sometimes AUFC will have a Wednesday and Sunday game in the same week. Thank you for all you contribute to our beloved Five Stripes!

Leave a Reply