How World Cup Veteran and NWSL Champ Abby Erceg Recovers with Mendi
Nov 1st 2020

As a seasoned pro who's led teams at the international and professional level, Abby ERCEG demands a lot FROM her body, both mentally and physically. This 2X champ relies on her consistent recovery game plan to keep her at the top of her game.


As a seasoned pro who's led teams at the international and professional level, Abby ERCEG demands a lot FROM her body, both mentally and physically. This 2X champ relies on her consistent recovery game plan to keep her at the top of her game.

2 Champions.
2 Game plans.
1 goal.

Both Abby Erceg and Kristen Hamilton of the North Carolina Courage look to stay on top of their game with a whole-body training and recovery approach. They rely on different Mendi products to promote better sleep, reduce pain and inflammation and encourage balanced energy & focus throughout their daily routine.

interview with abby


Abby we are so happy to be partners with you and the entire NC Courage club. As the team captain of this back-to-back championship team, you are a leader both on and off the field. We're excited to learn more about you and how you're using Mendi as a part of your whole-body recovery game plan. Let's dive in.

Given the status quo of CBD being a banned substance in most professional sports leagues, the NWSL has shown far more progress than most. Do you have anything to say to other professional leagues or teams who still stigmatize cannabis use for athletes?


I think the NWSL is doing a great job and they are progressing a lot faster than other league. For professional leagues or teams that are still stigmatizing the use of cannabis, I think it just comes down to a lack of education. I know having played in various leagues all around the world, some leagues more than others, are a bit more stubborn in their methodology. There are more traditional methods when it comes to recovery and gaining an advantage. And I know that America is doing a really good job of that, of being ahead of the game. So I think for me and based on my experience, it does just come down to a lack of education and perhaps a little bit of stubbornness, not necessarily on the part of individual athletes, but also on the part of organizations and teams managing those athletes.


What would you like to tell other athletes in your sport or outside of your sport about using CBD/cannabis as a recovery tool?


In terms of using CBD as a recovery tool, I think as with anything, especially at a professional or an elite level, it comes down to what the individual athlete prefers. You know, it's the same as when you're talking about ice baths or other recovery tools. It's really what the athlete prefers. And I think at the end of the day, you need to try it before you dismiss it. For me, there was a little bit of stigma around the use of it at first. But until you've tried it, it's hard to move past that stigma and you really experience the benefits for yourself.

So I would say it's something that you should definitely try. Obviously now with the changes in the rules with WADA and a lot of anti-doping agencies around the world, it's completely legal.You know, you've got the tinctures, you've got gummies, you've got gel capsule's and and salve stick. So there's a lot of different ways to do it. If people are uncomfortable ingesting, then, you know, you've got the salve stick. So I think as with any recovery method, especially with CBD, there's so many different methods that you can take. I think it suits everybody. It's just a matter of finding out what you like and what you don't like.



You’ve been one of the most fit (or maybe the fittest) player in the League for years. Aside from hard work, what are some of the other keys to your fitness level and how successfully you’ve been able to combat fatigue throughout the season?


Fitness is probably one of the things I get asked about the most and any interview or any kind of conversation, and I think it's just because when I first started, I probably wasn't as fit as I needed to be to operate at an elite level. And I kind of just had a realization that I had more to give and I had more to offer as an athlete, as a person and as a teammate to the rest of my team. And I think that stemmed from a little a little bit of unsuccessful runs, both at an international level and at a club level. You know, I got knocked out of the semis with Chicago and then obviously with my national team, you know, not ever having made World Cup semi-finals and finals is obviously really tough to take.

So I thought, I want to be able to say that I can give absolutely everything to the game. And if I do get knocked out, it's not because I wasn't as good as I could be. It was because somebody else was better than me at that point in time. So for me, when I look at fitness, it's not just can I run the longest? Can I run the furthest? Fitness for me is always holistic. It's yes, obviously the physical side of the game, my speed, my endurance, but also my strength, how fast I can recover psychologically, how I can deal with stressful situations. And so when I put all of those together it encompasses fitness.

Now that I've been doing it for a couple of years, I'm finding that because I'm stronger, because I'm faster, because I'm fitter, I'm actually recovering quicker from from loads, especially during pre-season. And when I come in, I'm not having to just keep up. I can actually make gains in certain areas that I want to make gains. And and that that's really motivating for me. So it's been a lot of experimentation finding out what works and what doesn't. I think self reflection has been really how I developed my fitness and found a way to better recover throughout the season.


What are some specific recovery regimens that have led to your soccer success?


One area I always really had trouble with was sleep, especially after late night games, which most of the games that you play at a professional level are late. Managing to get 7-8 hours of sleep, a normal night's sleep after game was really difficult. I found that I would lose 1-2 days after a game because I couldn't recover fast enough and I wasn't sleeping well enough. I just I felt tired and worn down. It kind of flowed over into the next day. This is something that I really, really have been trying to fix for the maybe for the past 4-5 years.

I tried different methods. I tried meditation. I tried listening to music at night. I tried not looking at screens. But it's really after a game you're just so wired that it's really difficult to shut down. And I actually found that CBD was really, really helpful in the section. It took a little bit of experimentation in terms of the amount that I needed to take. Sometimes I found that I actually had the opposite effect and I would be more, more, more awake and more alert. But after finding the right dosage, this is my absolute go to after games. I make sure when I'm traveling, if I have home games at my CBD is either next to my bed or easily accessible so that when I get home I take it, shut down for the night. And I know that I'm going to get at least seven hours sleep and I'm going to sleep all the way through the night, which is so critical. I don't often wake up when I take CBD and it's just been a game changer.


What are some things better recovery allows you to do besides just perform at the highest level?


This is going to sound a little bit corny, but recovering better just allows you to be a better person. You're a better teammate. You're a better person the next day because someone that can't recover is kind of miserable. I kind of I've describe it as this hungover feeling. You're sluggish, you're slow, you're irritable, your mood changes. You don't you don't want to do team activities. You kind of want to be alone. So recovery in that sense is just so important in terms of how you operate on a day to day basis.


What measurable ways (i.e. Whoop, HRV, FF90, etc.) have you found CBD/cannabis to help you?


I found that on the nights that I take CBD, I'm falling into REM sleep a little bit more, which is money for me because I'm getting more recovery than the nights I don't take it. I take it especially on game days. For me that's important.

I think it's a critical tool to be able to use, especially after games. But I think looking into the future, we need to get more data around how specifically CBD is affecting heart rate, sleep, or even lactic levels in your system. I think for athletes, that's really critical knowledge.



Do you have any unsung heroes? Who are they, and why?


So this question's really interesting for me. The way I was raised, the people I looked up to weren't involved in sports. It was always people that I knew, like my parents, my mother especially, and it was always people that just had really good morals, really good principles, rather than had really good athletic ability. Because I think to a degree, athletic ability, you can train as much as you want and people that don't have it can go out and get it to a certain degree.

But those people that show compassion, those in the wake of any success and are still humble and pay tribute to grassroots, that is something I really admire not only as a person, but also as an athlete.

An athlete example, you look at someone like Roger Federer, who's not only adored by the players he plays against, but also by the fans because he's so humble, he gives back as much as he takes and he pays homage to the history of the sport, which I don't think a lot of athletes do these days.

And then off the field, I would definitely be my parents. Just for the way they raised me and what they had to go through. You know, as a single parent, my mother really had some struggles. And you don't really appreciate that until you grow up and you understand how hard it must have been for them.


What’s one thing not shown in your stats and awards that you want to be associated with your legacy?


I think aside from the awards and any kind of statistics that are posted about me, just being a good person is probably one of the biggest associations I want, especially being in a leadership role for most of my career. Obviously being the captain of the courage for the past five years. I was a captain of my national team for five years. So I think when I walk away, if people can say she was a really good person, she was strong as a leader, she was trustworthy, she was dedicated to the cause. I think that probably carries more weight than it does the amount of trophies I walk away with.

As we delve deeper into “non-conventional” forms of health and wellness and taking mental more seriously as a major component to high performance, I see a vast untapped market for companies like Mendi to continue to enhance sport performance, and, most importantly, overall well being. I believe ignorance of some kind hinders this progress. Whether investors look over black-owned/female-owned businesses, or naysayers actively avoid resources that educate on efficacy, ignorance in a world of possibility is such a disappointment. However, though, I see many of these instances less and less as fearless innovators, like Mendi, don’t take “No” as an answer.