Today we had a Q&A with Martin McDermott who is the kit man of Vancouver Whitecaps FC who play in the MLS.
Checkout the Q&A with Martin below.
Who are you Kitman for and how long have you been in the position?
“I’m a kitman for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, we play in the MLS and I’ve been with the club for seven years. I started with the academy teams, then the reserve team, and now I’m going into my second year with the first-team.”
How did you get your current role?
“I was working with the stadium operations team helping to convert the stadium for game days – we share our grounds with the BC Lions, a Canadian Football League team. I was approached to work as the kitman for the academy teams, so I jumped at the chance.
The rest, as they say, is history!”
Is it a role you’ve always wanted to do?
“I can’t say I grew up wanting to be a kitman; however, I love it and can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”
What are your responsibilities as a Kitman?
“It’s my job to make sure all our players have the right kit available. I assist with setting the field up for training, preparing the training and game day locker rooms, packing kit for away trips, travelling with the team on away games, and laundry obviously. Then there is stuff not in the formal job description; keep an eye on the lads, welcome the new ones, be a confidante, a good listener – be the butt of the jokes!”
Do you have a beer/wine with the opposition Kitman after the game (like managers)?
“We do get pre-game chicken tenders beforehand and they seem to be fairly popular with visiting team staff! However, after the game there’s rarely time for socializing with the visiting staff, they’re either catching a flight or I’m busy cleaning up the locker room and washing our game kit.”
Have you had any certain players have special kit requirements?
“Nothing too out of the ordinary. Some guys like specific brand for socks as opposed to our regular cotton, the most unusual was a player who required two pairs of boots, one foot a size 8 and one foot a size 9.”
Do you get any input on the club’s kit designs?
“No, I don’t. They’re all designed for the MLS Clubs by adidas. Our marketing team works with adidas on the design, so I’m as excited as every other fan for the first glimpse of our new jersey each season.”
Do you own any football shirts, if so, how many and what’s the most treasured shirt you own?
“I own way too many – if you were to ask my wife! I don’t wear them and that baffles her even more. I have a Sierra Leone national team shirt, which is pretty cool, and a couple of lower league Dutch shirts given to me by players but my favourite is my old GAA jersey for Éire Óg, Ennis.”
What in your opinion is the best football kit of all time?
“Hands down the ’93 Ireland home jersey with the adidas three stripes on the shoulder and coming in a close second the 1990 Ireland World Cup jersey. I had both as a kid!”
Have you made any errors like, forgot the kit or bought the wrong kit?
“Thank God no!”
What’s been your proudest moment as a Kitman?
“There’s been a few. Seeing the younger kids that I’ve worked with in the academy develop – their debut with first team is as exciting for me as it is for them.
It takes such hard work, dedication, and sacrifice to achieve that, their success is really heartwarming and I’d like to think I’ve played a small part in it.”
What characteristics do you need to be a Kitman?
“You need to be a good communicator, especially with players (even when you don’t speak their language!). Be patient, have a keen eye for detail, be a good listener. It helps to have a good sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously. Love the game and don’t be afraid of hard work.”
Who does the laundry at home? ?
“My wife Claire!”
Finally, why do you love being a Kitman?
“I love being a kitman because I’m involved in professional sports and I don’t have to get a real job!”
Thanks to Martin for giving us up his time to answer our questions and giving an insight into what it’s like to be a kitman in Major League Soccer!
Thanks to Bob Frid & Vancouver Whitecaps for the use of the images.