Today we asked Tyler Peeler the kitman at MLS side Inter Miami CF about his experiences being a kitman.
Who are you a kitman for and how long have you been in the position?
“I am Kitman for Inter Miami CF and have been since January 1st, 2020.”
How did you get your current role?
“I have worked in various equipment roles over the past 5 years, and this opportunity to work with a brand new team was too good to pass up.”
Have you had any previous experience?
“I began working as a Kitman with US Soccer as a per firm employee with the youth national teams. I then transitioned to Kitman for Seattle Reign, a women’s professional team. A year later, the Seattle Sounders had an opening and I made the transition. After 2 years, I moved to Miami to work with Inter Miami CF.”
Is it a role you’ve always wanted to do?
“I have always had a passion for gear in general; shoes, cleats, kits, etc., as well as traveling. Pairing all of these together has allowed me to have, in my mind, the perfect job.”
What are your main responsibilities as a Kitman?
“First and foremost, as a Kitman I am responsible for just that, the kit. This includes match kits, training kit, travel, and other areas. That includes printing, distribution, maintenance, and inventory management. We also help facilitate training sessions with the coaching staff to provide equipment on the field, help set up sessions, as well as tear down.”
Do you have a catchup with the opposing kitman prior to kick off?
“It is always the goal to meet up with the opposing Kitman before kick, and after if possible. This community is so small, and takes a special character, that many, if not all, of us have a relationship with each other.”
Have you had any special requirements from players?
“Yes, of course! These are always the fun things when dealing with players. Whether it be as simple as cut socks..to something special like special patches inside of a kit. Whatever a player wants/needs, I do my best to accommodate when I am able.”
Do you get any input into the clubs kit designs?
“In my previous role with Seattle Reign, I had a lot of input. More recently, I have been further away from that process. Every club has different areas that have higher influence on these designs.”
Do you own any football shirts? If so how many and what’s your most treasured shirt that you own?
“I have many from over the years, but my most coveted is my team autographed Liverpool 2005 Champions League jersey.”
Do you get to keep shirts from your team or your opponents?
“This is definitely one of the perks.”
What in your opinion is the best football kit of all time?
“Oh wow, being a huge Liverpool fan, I would have to say the 1989-90 Red Candy kit.”
How was your playing career?
“I played collegiately here in the states at an NAIA college, Grand View University, where I was a center back. Not a wildly successful playing career, but enough passion to make me want to make soccer my career still.”
Have you made any errors such as forgetting the kit?
“I will just say this, forgetting little things is not the end of the world..it’s the big things you must always remember. And minimize the little things.”
What’s been your proudest moment as a kitman?
“In 2019, winning MLS Cup with Seattle Sounders. Post match, a player had given me a special shirt he wanted after the final whistle, and I was able to share that moment with him. Then, after the trophy ceremony, I was able to take in the experience with my mother and brother down on the field. It was such an amazing day.”
What characteristics do you need to be a kitman?
“You must be organized, willing to do whatever is necessary, hard working, and have a high level of attention to detail. I also believe being personable to being a huge advantage in the role.”
What’s the funniest kit related story you can tell us?
“I always have the subs kits on the bench, ready for when they are called to make a change and enter the match. I couldn’t find a subs kit..so I sprinted back to the locker room, only to receive a call from our security that the player had his own kit.”
Who does the laundry at home?
“I definitely do the laundry. It is kind of therapeutic to do at home because it is not on any kind of timeframe.”
Finally what do you love about being a kitman?
“I love being a Kitman because you are part of the team, and part of the club. It may not be the most glamorous or important role, and it’s not pivotal to the teams success, but being able to make the players and staffs jobs easier, makes it all worth it. Working Monday-Friday to see the final product of a weeks training during a Saturday match is what I live for.”
Thanks to Tyler for sharing his experiences and giving us an insight in what it takes to be a kitman in the MLS.