HFR had a chance to speak to Nebo Bandovic who used to play professional soccer for a premier team in Europe, Red Star Belgrade, in addition to various teams in the US. Soccer is currently the number one sport worldwide, and is gaining momentum and popularity in the US. Here is what Nebo Bandovic says about soccer, it’s health benefits, and it’s future in the US:
HFR: Nebo, you were a successful athlete- a professional soccer player, for many years. Please tell us about it and what you have done since you retired from professional soccer.
Nebo Bandovic: I formerly played with the Red Star Belgrade, the St. Louis Steamers, and the Houston Hot Shots as well as other teams in Europe. After I retired from soccer, I started my sports management company (www.globalprosports.net), for which I am the current president.
HFR: Being a professional soccer player, what do you believe the sport does for both mental and physical health?
Nebo Bandovic: Soccer is also a very healthy sport and provides a great deal of health benefits both physically and emotionally. It is great for children as well as teens and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Soccer provides a fun way to get your daily exercise and at the same time strengthen your cardiovascular health and improve aerobic capability. It can also help prevent a variety of diseases and help burn calories to maintain a good body weight. Soccer can promote feelings of well-being due to the release of endorphins during the activity thereby boosting self-esteem, confidence and coordination. It can also reduce levels of anxiety. Soccer helps with concentration as well as self-discipline. It also teaches players to work as a team. Also, it is much less dangerous for injuries than American football.
HFR: Now that you live in the US, what do you see as the future of the sport of soccer in this country?
Nebo Bandovic: Soccer is a great sport and probably the most popular in the world. It has recently been gaining a great deal of attention in the United States over the past 20 years, especially among girls. There are more girls playing soccer in the United States than anywhere else in the world. That is why the girls U.S. team is ranked #1 in the world. It is my belief that soccer will continue to gain popularity in the United States and the U.S. will become one of the future super powers in soccer.