Arthur Irawan: Professional Football Player

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers
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#MaganiMen: Meet Arthur Irawan, Indonesian Professional Football (Soccer) Player. After an international football career in Spain and Belgium, Arthur returned to Indonesia and has most recently been playing for PSS Sleman. Learn how Arthur balances all the physical and mental challenges of being a professional athlete, and his next steps to give back to the Indonesian youth players through his football academy in collaboration with Spain’s LaLiga.
Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

Arthur wears Two Toned Flowers.

When did you know your passion was football and what changed when you turned professional?

I knew I had a passion for football when I was 8 years old. I enjoyed playing and being on the field. Honestly, I feel very blessed that I can turn my passion into my career. When I became a professional football player, my passion became my job. The fun that I had playing the game when I was younger turned into pressure to perform, and much like any other job I have to stay committed and show up every single day. Also, I have to be very disciplined on and off the field.

How do you sustain self-discipline? How has it changed when you were younger to now?

Well I can say that I have always had a hard-working mentality since I was young. When I was younger, this meant giving everything I had on the field or during training. But as I got older, I became more educated on what it meant to be a professional athlete. My body is no longer 18 years old, so I have to be very disciplined in my nutrition, sleep, rest etc. I have to be very self-aware of my body to make sure that I’m in prime condition to play. Nowadays I have learned how to take care of my body and how to train and recover smarter.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

Football is a mentally and physically intensive game, how do you manage both pressures?

I think it’s learning not just what to do on the field but also what to do off the field. There’s a science behind all of this and you have to be self-disciplined and get proper nutrition, rest, sleep. Being a professional athlete is not only a profession but also a lifestyle. You not only have to build up your skills in your respective sport, but also have to understand how to take care of your body.

Walk us through your daily routine.

I try to get 8 hours of sleep every night. As the saying goes - you are what you eat, so I have to be careful in what I eat depending on what I need to do that day. For instance, the night before a game, I would carb-load so that I can have enough energy for when I play the next day. Whereas if it is a training day or throughout a normal week, I would not eat as much carbs and maintain a healthy diet of protein and vegetables.

On game day, in the morning I would eat some slow-releasing carbs like oatmeal, granola, whole-wheat bread, or fruits. I’ll only have coffee in the morning, and never before the game, because I find that coffee dehydrates me. During lunch, I would probably have a healthy serving of carbs, protein, vegetables. Right before the game I would have an amino acid drink. After the game, I’m finally free to eat whatever I want.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career thus far?

My biggest challenge would probably be my hip injury. I had a calcification and had to get an operation. I wasn’t able to do what I love - football - for about 8 months. I couldn’t even walk. This was physically and mentally tough for me. It was tough not knowing if I could do what I could do before after the operation; not knowing if I could be the player I was before. But I would say that after going through this major life obstacle, I have come out a stronger and tougher person in general. I feel like if I can overcome this then I can overcome anything else in life.

If you could start your career all over again, would you do anything differently?

Honestly I don’t live life with regrets. I think every mistake can be a blessing or a lesson, and if you stay true to your faith and be strong, everything will be OK in the end. I am the person I am today because of all the mistakes that I’ve made. I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I’m happy with who I am today and I wouldn’t change anything.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

Has your game changed as you have matured?

Yes of course. I’ve played for over 10 years now and with all the games and training throughout my career, I know how to play smarter and position myself better. I think when you’re younger you can be more naïve because you have more energy and you’re stronger. You can run faster and you may be less prone to injury. But as you get older, you have to be able to play and train smarter. I feel like football is more like a tactical game - like chess. You have to be able to know how to position yourself in a collective, not just focus on your individual strength or skills.

What is your ultimate career goal?

Well as a football player of course it would be to play well in every match, win as many games and trophies as possible. I want to be the best player I can be. Obviously as I get older I can’t be a player forever, but I hope to stay in the football industry and have a positive impact on the Indonesian youth players.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

How are you transitioning to your future when you retire from being a player?

I am taking things day by day and enjoying every moment of being a player. I don’t like to think of when I have to retire because I love being on the field, but I have to be realistic and think about the future. I want to enter into football management. With my experience and knowledge of playing in Europe, I want to help the Indonesian youth to achieve their football dreams and also live healthier lives.

Since 2019 I have collaborated with LaLiga and set up a football academy for Indonesian youth players called EDF LaLiga Academy. It’s the first LaLiga Academy in Southeast Asia and we aim to transform football in Indonesia starting from the grassroot level. LaLiga’s UEFA Pro-Coaches come to Indonesia and train the kids based on LaLiga’s standard curriculum and training methodology. We want to help Indonesian kids who have an interest in football to develop their talent, character, and leadership. We want the kids to be the best versions of themselves and you can instill this from a young age through proper exposure, training, and self-discipline.

Can you tell us more about EDF LaLiga Academy?

With the partnership with LaLiga, we can give the opportunity for kids to play in Europe one day. I think that’s amazing because it’s every footballer’s dream to be able to play in the European league. Also, our training method is not just helping the kids be good at football but also being a good citizen and living healthier lives. We guide them to be more disciplined and committed. We give them classes on nutrition, mental health, and how to rest and take care of your body. So even if the kids don’t end up becoming a football player, I feel that going through our academy they will still come out as more educated and healthier kids.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

What advice can you give for aspiring younger athletes?

My advice to the young athletes is that anything is achievable through hard work and commitment. Work smart, study your sport, study the previous players who have achieved what you want to achieve. Follow their path and learn what you can do to improve yourself everyday. Never give up and never lose faith, and I think this applies to any career, not just being an athlete.

What else have you been up to so far?

I recently started a foundation called Athletes for Good (AFG). As a footballer and a public figure, I believe I have the responsibility to give back to others in need and help move other athletes to do the same. AFG focuses on giving back to communities, especially helping the younger generation in need so that they can live healthier and better lives.

What about Magani appealed to you?

I love Magani because it’s fashionable yet also very comfortable. Nowadays you have a lot of hype streetwear that looks cool and is super comfortable. I think that’s equivalent to Magani - making Batik cool and comfortable for the younger generation. I think Magani can help the younger generation understand batik more and celebrate our Indonesian heritage. Also, Magani suits my daily lifestyle. It is perfect for my daily wear because as an athlete I tend to sweat a lot and I’m quite active, yet I can still look sharp and be comfortable.

Arthur Irawan Magani Nosweat Two Toned Flowers

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