Herbers and D.C. United’s Julian Gressel have a podcast that looks at soccer from the perspective of two active players.
There was something Fire attacker Fabian Herbers had to talk about.
He didn’t see the appeal of ice-cream nachos.
On a recent episode of ‘‘Zee Soccer Podcast,’’ the show Herbers hosts with D.C. United midfielder — and fellow native German — Julian Gressel, Herbers challenged Fire fans to send him photos of the delicacy that became a staple at SeatGeek Stadium and migrated to Soldier Field. Supporters obliged him, and somebody from the Fire must’ve heard the episode because Herbers was given a full helping of the sweet treat during the game last Saturday.
‘‘I was trying them, and they were actually pretty decent,’’ Herbers said on the podcast.
Though acquiring a taste for a dessert beloved by fans has been one benefit of the podcast, Herbers and Gressel are doing it for other reasons.
Counting the introductory episode, Herbers and Gressel have done 13 shows that are available on the most popular podcast platforms. The idea came about last year, when Gressel texted Herbers about starting a podcast. Herbers, an eager consumer of podcasts, was hesitant at first because English isn’t his first language, but he warmed to the idea.
Though there are numerous soccer podcasts featuring journalists, former players and other types of commentators, Herbers and Gressel figured theirs could add something different. They also use a ‘‘German approach,’’ which Herbers said is more direct and honest and adds more insight.
‘‘We thought it would be a very interesting perspective coming from players,’’ Herbers said.
Herbers welcomes feedback, suggestions and encouragement from fans and appreciates the pictures and reviews of the ice-cream nachos. With the help of a friend of Gressel’s, who produces the show and posts it, the two have used their microphone to interview players, including former Fire forward CJ Sapong.
There also have been takes on the recent Columbus Crew rebrand, the heated offseason labor negotiations and navigating life as soccer players. Herbers even broke the news of his preseason injury in one episode, announcing he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
While Herbers and Gressel are honest and share the German perspective of the sport, neither wants to bash other players.
‘‘You don’t want to step on anybody’s feet,’’ Herbers said. ‘‘You don’t want to expose negative news about other people or the club, so we’re trying to find a balance there, obviously. It’s there to express yourself.’’
And though it’s a hobby he called a ‘‘fun journey’’ so far, Herbers said he sees the podcast the way top-level elite athletes look at any project that takes up even 30 minutes per week: He’s eager to keep getting better.
‘‘If you compare Episode 1 with Episode 12 that recently came out, you’ll already see a huge improvement in those three months that we’ve been doing it,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel like it can only get better, and hopefully we’ll gain a lot more listeners that way because I think it’s a cool thing we have going.’’
NOTES: The Fire announced Friday they are reinstating Sector Latino as a recognized supporter group. In 2018, the group’s supporters privileges were permanently revoked due to what the team said were repeated violations of the league’s fan code of conduct, a decision that caused a schism with the fan base.
* Defender Andre Reynolds II was loaned to USL club Memphis 901 for the remainder of the season. A homegrown signing, Reynolds has made two MLS appearances in three seasons with the Fire.