How Union midfielder Lahoud battled...and beat the mental toll of his physical injury

Michael Lahoud's personal fight to get back to full health

Lahoud vs. MTL

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Michael Lahoud feels stronger than ever – mentally and physically.

In early May, Lahoud went out with a sports hernia which required surgery. The extended time away from the pitch to recuperate was anything but easy.

The recovery process was challenging physically yet it made him so much tougher mentally.

Now that Lahoud is back, he’s ready for the final push of the marathon season to help the Union reach the playoffs for the second time in four seasons.

Lahoud arrived in Philadelphia last season in a trade with Chivas USA for Danny Califf. He proceeded to start 12 of the Union’s final 13 games in the midfield.

Lahoud reveled in everything having to do with competing for the Union. It began that way in 2013.

Then came the bizarre injury.

“It hasn’t been easy for me,” Lahoud said. “The best thing is getting a balance to working my way back and looking at the small picture and not really worrying about the bigger picture. It just feels good to be back.  My body feels good. There are little things like certain movements that I’m getting used to. Stepping away for a while helped because I feel like I have more mental toughness. I think this whole things will help me be that much better in every way.”

While Lahoud was out, he made sure to stay sharp.

This type of injury was challenging because he couldn’t push his body as much as he would have liked. He had to be patient.

While he was waiting, he would watch and learn. He would talk to his teammates.

“It was a whole other challenge, probably more mental than anything,” Lahoud said. “Just being patient because you couldn’t do anything with an injury like this until your body says it’s ready. Now that I’m back, I’m not trying and play hero and to pace myself. I think it was tough because I wanted to be out there and be part of it.

“For me, one of the biggest things was even though I wasn’t able to be part of the wins on the field, I was still part of the team, staying engaged, keeping in contact with players. I was talking to players during games, taking to players in the locker room, pointing out things at halftime. I was staying involved, which was so important.

“It gave me a lot of perspective.”

Watching his club win a lot of matches and compile of points made the recovery process smoother. Sure, Lahoud would rather have been on the pitch.

But being part of a successful club pushed him to return.

Getting back to the postseason is where Lahoud wants to be playing this season.

“A very successful teammate once told me winning is better than losing,” Lahoud said with a smile. “Those are some of the wisest words you can hear. It’s such a better atmosphere when you’re winning and things are clicking. It’s good we have depth. We want to win something. Don’t want to just be there. I want to be in position to win something.”

The Union have good depth at every position and Lahoud understands he has quite a bit of work to do to stay on the pitch for an extended period of time.

“I think competition is a great thing,” Lahoud said. “I’m willing to do everything I can to fight for playing time. The main thing is I’m healthy and I feel very good. It’s just good to be back and I’m excited about the rest of the season.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com