Yup, it’s really been 15 years since Major League Soccer star Kyle Martino played his last professional game. “With the way my body feels these days, I don’t miss it at all!” he says with a laugh. That’s why, he adds, “I’m just as happy to be sitting on the sidelines talking about the game rather than playing in it.”
Fans can hear him call (and analyze) the shots on more than 20 top US Men’s National Team soccer matches all year on both TNT and HBO Max as part of the streaming network’s first-ever domestic live sports coverage. Though the team lost to Serbia 2-1 during his January 25 debut, he’s bullish about the future. “The US has a very young and exciting team right now, thanks to players like Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna,” he says. “And the sports’ popularity will continue to rise in America because the 2026 World Cup is taking place right here.”
Martino speaks from experience, of course. The former All-American at the University of Virginia spent seven seasons playing for the Columbus Crew and the LA Galaxy as a midfielder. After hanging up his cleats, he provided color commentary and insight for NBC Sports, ESPN, Fox Soccer Channel and HDNet. The father of three also served as board chairman of Street Soccer USA, which empowers underserved communities through the power of soccer, and he launched the nonprofit The Over Under Initiative, dedicated to improving kids’ health and wellness. He also recently opened Football Cafe, a soccer speakeasy in NYC.
But Martino still gets his kicks by playing his beloved sport. He recently co-created Street FC, a soccer club in which members use numerous hard-surface spaces across the country to play pick-up soccer at a low cost — and he takes full advantage of the perks. “It got me back playing the game I love again,” he says. “And it’s where I get in my workouts these days.” Below, Martino shares his fitness favorites with CNN Underscored.
It’s true: You don’t need fancy (read: pricey) equipment to achieve an effective strength workout. In fact, resistance band training has proven to achieve the same results as free weights, only with less pressure on your points because of the durable latex material. “It sounds simple, but I love resistance bands,” he says. “They’re lightweight, easy to find and travel with and you get a wide range of resistance movements.” (Find a slew of easy demonstrations on YouTube.)
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No fair-weather user, Martino is adamant about applying his sunscreen. “I wish someone had told me to wear it more regularly when I was younger,” he says. “But as I get older, I never leave the house without putting it on — especially now that I’m back in the sunshine calling games. It’s so important to protect your skin.” This SPF 50 cream offers broad-spectrum protection.
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When Martino is on the road, he tunes out the chaos with these flexible wireless and noise-canceling earbuds . . . and dreams of Californication. “I’ve been a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since day one,” he raves. “It’s what I always listened to before games during my playing [days] and nothing has changed since then!”
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Martino wears these colorful classics, which feature the brand’s iconic waffle sole, stitched linings and abrasion-resistance (TPU) material as well as Max Air cushioning for on-the-move comfort. “It’s a sneaker I’ve been wearing for years because I always know how they’re going to fit,” he says. “They’re hard to beat.”
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Like many, many, many athletes before him, Martino loves his thirst-quenching, electrolyte-fueled Gatorade after a sweaty workout. “I’ve been drinking orange Gatorade since I can remember, and I don’t plan on stopping!” he says. And, referencing the famous Michael Jordan-starring commercials from the 1990s, he jokes, “I wanna be like Mike!”
This may be a sticky situation, but Martino confesses that he’s such a peanut butter fiend that “I find myself sneaking some of my kids’ snacks from them if it has peanut butter in it.” For a healthier (and more adult) PB snack, he opts for protein-packed, non-GMO Clif Bars. However, he adds, Justin’s Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups do the trick as well.
“I really like these,” Martino says of these stylish black trousers, made from highly breathable and cooling tech fabric. “You can wear them to a wedding and then play 90 minutes of soccer comfortably right after!” This may be a good time to note that they’re also quick-drying and crease-resistant, and they feature excellent stretch.
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Over in the athleisure aisle, Martino says he wears Nike (“I was a Nike athlete for years and of course will always be a fan of their stuff”), plus Adidas, Puma and New Balance. He tops it all off with this cotton twill cap, as a portion of proceeds benefit his Over Under Initiative organization. “I find myself always wearing a cap of some sort,” he says. “And it’s not because I’m much more gray than the last time you saw me on TV!”
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