Washington sports stars are getting in the food game. Alex Ovechkin recently released honey-nut “Ovi O’s” at local supermarkets, while Washingtonian just caught up with DC United goalie Bill Hamid at Beefsteak. The soccer star has teamed up with celebrity restaurateur José Andrés to create a veggie bowl for the three DC-area locations of Andrés’s fast-casual chain (Dupont and GW). Hamid’s “They Can’t Hold Us Back” special—a nod to the goalkeeper’s catchphrase first used in the 2012 playoffs—launches today and will be available as long as the team stays in the MLS Cup playoff games in Toronto (starting October 19). A dollar from each $8.24 bowl will be donated to DC Scores, a national team-building nonprofit; Hamid works with the local branch to create both soccer and poetry slam teams in DC public and charter schools.
We chatted with Hamid as he created the green curry rice bowl filled with broccoli, spinach, carrots, and edamame—all topped with garlic yogurt, crunchy corn nuts, and a healthy dose of kimchi inspired by Hamid’s childhood growing up in Annandale (i.e. Washington’s Koreatown). Here he talks diet, favorite restaurants, and why you should, in fact, eat your vegetables.
What does your diet look like? Do you always gravitate towards veggies?
As an athlete, the main idea of nutrition is balance. Soccer players burn a lot of energy and operate on a lot of calories, so what we put back in our bodies is very important. There are certain meals where I want to let my body enjoy what’s on the plate. Sometimes it’s not the healthiest, but I know I’m going to burn the weight. There are other times where you have to take a step back and show consistency in eating your vegetables and other foods that promote a healthy lifestyle.
As a goalkeeper, is your diet different from other members of the DC United team?
There is a difference in nutrition because of the way goalkeepers beat our bodies up compared to field players. Our protein intake has to be a bit higher because our muscles are taking a lot more of a beating. Sometimes, that leads to us being a little bit thicker than field players. Their weight has to be a lot leaner than a goalkeeper because they have to move for 90 minutes non-stop. It is hard trying to adapt to those differences, but that’s why we do what we do.
What is your role within DC Scores and why did you pick that non-profit in particular?
It’s a non-profit that I work with all the time. I know the ideology behind helping kids and giving them a platform to learn poetry, play soccer, live healthy lives, and create relationships that will last a lifetime. I support DC Scores through thick and thin because their message is something that I completely believe in. Some of these kids come from neighborhoods and backgrounds that are less fortunate than kids in other cities and regions, so we’re giving them an opportunity to get better and grow as young human beings.
What were your favorite restaurants growing up in Annandale?
One of my favorite restaurants in Annandale is Honey Pig. It’s a Korean barbecue place that’s open 24 hours. The people are great and the food is great. I like that you have that hibachi-style [food] cooked right in front of you on the table. They have kobe beef, bulgogi, kimchi–it’s just absolutely amazing. It has a little bit of an influence in the bowl I made here because it’s what inspired the kimchi.
How about your favorite José Andrés’s restaurant in DC?
Number one is Jaleo. I love those little tots [patatas bravas]; it’s one of my favorite meals. It’s in Chinatown, so whenever I catch myself going to a concert or a basketball game, I always end up there afterwards. It’s always a great time at José Andrés’s restaurants because he creates a culture that people show [up for] and really approve of in this city.
There’s a ton of vegetables to choose from at Beefsteak—which would you never put in a bowl?
I’m a big fan of broccoli, but I’m not a big fan of cauliflower. It just doesn’t taste that good to me.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.