Earlier this month, Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson made headlines for blocking a penalty shot from Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi, helping Iceland earn an impressive draw in the country's first-ever World Cup appearance. It was watched on TV by almost 3 million people around the world — and nearly everyone in Halldórsson's home country.
But years before Halldórsson was on TV himself, he was at home behind the camera. Prior to playing professional soccer full-time starting in 2012, the now-34-year-old goalie worked as a filmmaker.
"I always had a passion for it when I was young, and that's what I got sucked into after high school," he said Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.
After graduating from high school, Halldórsson started his own production company, where he primarily worked on commercials and music videos. He dreamed of delving into larger projects, such as a TV series or feature-length film, but he tells The Hollywood Reporter that it would have been too difficult to balance with his soccer schedule.
And though Halldórsson eventually gave up his film career to pursue soccer full-time, he recently returned to his roots to direct a Coca-Cola commercial that will air in Iceland throughout the World Cup.
Check it out below:
Halldórsson believes he'll return to film someday. "My dream is to make a feature film and do a scripted TV series," he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
"If I get a chance I will focus more on making movies like, let's say, thrillers or maybe comedies," he adds.
Halldórsson's not the only professional athlete to take on a side hustle. In fact, he says it's not uncommon for players to work side jobs while still pursuing soccer because Iceland's league is only semi-professional. "My job just happened to be a filmmaker," he says.
His coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, is still a practicing dentist, which he calls a "good way to relax" from the pressures of the soccer season. "Some coaches play golf, shoot reindeer, whatever — everybody has something. But I really enjoy going back home to my clients," he told The New York Times.
In February, Chris Mazdzer came in second in men's singles luge at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, earning the U.S. its first-ever medal in the event. But despite being one of the top athletes in his sport, Mazdzer only earned $700 throughout the entire season prior to this year's Olympics. Even after competing at his first Olympics in 2010, he still had to work odd jobs throughout the year to make ends meet, including bartending and serving at weddings.
And when he's not on the football field, New England Patriots wide receiver Bernard Reedy works an $11 an hour job as a driver for Car Ride, a transportation company for people in wheelchairs. He told ESPN that he picked up the gig in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, after being dropped by the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
Reedy says whenever he would get discouraged by the challenges of his NFL career, he would think about the individuals he worked with and ask, "What about the people on life support? What about the people who can't walk that want to walk again? That stuff's way more serious than running around and playing football."
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