Becoming a Sports Equipment Manager

how to become an equipment manager

One of the thrills of working in sports is not just being close to the action, but being close to the athletes as well.

Daniel Deming, Assistant Sports Equipment Manager for D.C. United, spends his days working closely with the athletes we watch perform on the field, and has learned that they share common ground.

"Working with athletes is great," says Deming. "The players recognize a lot of the hard work that you do and really appreciate the effort that the staff puts in to try and put the team in a position to succeed as best we can.

"It's also great because I'm very close in age to a lot of our players and have made some good friendships with a many of the guys.  At the end of the day, these guys are people just like you and I, the only difference is that they are far better at sports than we are."

Your last point is well taken Daniel, these guys are much better at sports than about 99% of us. For more details on what it takes to work with a pro team as a sports equipment manager here's Daniel Deming:

Explain the role and day-to-day tasks of sports equipment manager jobs for a pro to prepare for your sports job search ebook

Deming: For sports equipment manager jobs, your day-to-day responsibilities before practice include:

  • Setting up practice gear in the player's lockers each day

  • Pumping up balls

  • Setting up drills on fields

  • Assisting coaches with any needs each morning before practice

After practice, the players head into the locker room and change out of their practice gear...

  • Which we then wash and set out for practice the next day

  • We also print all jerseys at our stadium

  • Order all Adidas gear for each season

  • Pack anywhere from 25-35 bags of equipment for each road trip (depending on weather).

Lastly, we keep the player lounge well stocked with bagels, bananas, cereal, etc. so the players can have a little breakfast or snack before practice each day.

Tip to future sports equipment managers be EXCELLENT at multitasking.

What are the most important skills for someone that would want to work in sports equipment management?

Deming: Most importantly you need to be excellent at multitasking because you really don't know what each day is going to bring.  You also need to be hard working, efficient, a quick learner and able to work long hours.

Being personable sure helps, and able to mesh with a lot of different guys from different backgrounds from all over the world, especially in sports like soccer and baseball.

While at getting your undergrad degree at Clemson University in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management you interned with D.C United in the Equipment Management department – how did you get this internship and what were the most important skills you learned?

Deming: I got this internship through one of the internship placement programs at Clemson University.  Throughout my Internship at DC United, I learned that hard work and the willingness to help in many different areas was crucial to having success and ultimately, it helped me land a full-time job at DC United.

What really helped me get hired full-time was that I kept in touch with the Equipment Manager who was my boss when I was an intern and is also my boss today as well.

I also kept in touch with the person who was the Assistant Equipment Manager when I was an intern, as well as a few people from the team administration and team operations departments.

You also worked for the Clemson athletic department in more of a marketing/promotions role – how important was it for you to gain various experiences while in college?

Deming: It was extremely important because it taught me a lot about the nature of the business of sports.  Working in sports is by far the most fun job out there but it isn't easy by any means.

dc united sports equipment manager jobs
"At the end of the day, these guys are people just like you and I, the only difference is that they are far better at sports than we are," D.C. United Assistant Equipment Manager Daniel Deming
A vast majority of the time the work that my coworkers and I do is hard work that requires putting in a lot of hours.  However, seeing the games go on and really being up close to all of the action makes all of that hard work completely worth it.  

After graduating, and taking on a few other jobs in sports, you eventually made it back to D.C. United as an Assistant Equipment Manager – how did interning there help you get hired?

Deming: Like many professional sports organizations/colleges, DC United hires many former interns into full-time positions on a frequent basis.

My internship experience helped me because I was able to work hard and let my actions speak louder than my words would have had I just interviewed for the position without ever interning at DC United.  I also was familiar with the people who were interviewing for the position and had good working relationships with them, something that certainly cannot hurt your chances.  

You have experience in sports marketing and promotions, is that the direction you want your career to head or do you think you’ve found an interesting career working for a pro team?

Deming: I love being behind the scenes in Equipment Management.

It's a great job and you really get a lot of great experiences to go with it as well.  I'd definitely like to explore this side of the business more, whether it be continuing to grow in MLS/US Soccer, in baseball as a Clubhouse Manager or in the NBA as an Equipment Manager, you just never know what kind of opportunities may arise.

The possibilities are endless and as I gain more valuable experience with DC United, I'm excited to see where my career takes me.
By Brian Clapp | July 17, 2017
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