Chris Smalling, who plays professional soccer on popular team Manchester United, recently transitioned to a vegan lifestyle with the help of his vegan wife, Sam Smalling. “My wife has been vegan for a few years and was often trying to persuade me,” Smalling told media outlet Daily Mail. “She cooks a lot at home, and half the time I was eating vegan anyway.” When Smalling first removed red meat from his diet, he noticed that his tendonitis—which he says many soccer players are afflicted with—began to disappear. While the 28-year-old player first adopted a plant-based diet for his health, and credits the change for allowing him to stay injury-free, Smalling recently began exploring the ethical side of leading a vegan lifestyle. “The main reason I started was my health. At first, I was half and half so I was cutting out red meat but still eating some meat,” Smalling said. “But […] the missus throws quite a lot of documentaries at you and it opens your eyes a little bit in terms of different industries, and that persuaded me to go full vegan.” Smalling joins a growing number of professional soccer players that have recently transitioned to veganism, including Hector Bellerin and Jermaine Defoe.

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