What goes into preparing for a 13 or 17-day pre-season trip to Bradenton or Orlando?
David Brauzer: Planning, planning and more planning. Usually we have anywhere from 40 to 50 bags between the training staff and equipment staff. So there’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into moving training from RFK Stadium to wherever we are for pre-season.
How far out do you start planning for pre-season?
DB: I start planning for pre-season at the end of the season – getting together lists, starting inventory, breakdown of old gear, accessing new gear that is coming in and then the actual packing process is probably a solid week and a half to two weeks.
Take the fans through a day in the life of David Brauzer, Equipment Manager for D.C. United, while in Bradenton.
DB: Well, we have two training sessions a day, one usually at 10:30 a.m. and one usually at 4:00 p.m. That usually means getting up around 7:00 a.m., team breakfast at 8:00 a.m., gear pickup by 9:00 a.m., we leave for training by 10:00 a.m. Training takes place and then we get done and eat lunch as a team. After that, I go do laundry at a nearby laundromat and prep for the second training session. Once we get back from the second training session, we gather all the gear, have a team dinner, usually around 7:30 p.m, and then laundry and setup again. So usually a typical day runs from about 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.
Worst part of pre-season?
DB: Not being able to work in my office and the RFK Stadium locker room. Not being in comfortable surroundings is always a pain. Plus, having to go to a laundromat or having a company do the wash for you is a little unnerving.
DB: Sometimes being on the road has its perks. Seeing new places is great. Being in warm and sunny Bradenton when its 25 degrees back in D.C. is always nice.
What is the most common need or want from players or staff?
DB: New stuff. It’s a new year, regardless of pre-season or regular season, they always want the new stuff, whether it’s the new travel gear or runners, or the new cleats. Everyone wants all the new stuff. I don’t give them all of it right away – I kind of sprinkle it here and there and surprise them along the way.
Speaking of new stuff – anything new and exciting in terms of equipment this year?
DB: There’s a few nice game-day only items that will debut once the season starts. Some stuff for the staff, some for the players. There’s some new color shoes – staying very bright. There will also be a second round of new cleats and runners probably half-way through the season to change things up a little bit.
How much laundry detergent/supplies did we go through this past 13-days in Bradenton?
A: Oh boy…we buy detergent in 10 pound boxes, and I think we went through 3 ½ 10 pound boxes of detergent…[laughter]…2 ½ bottle of fabric softener and a full 80 sheet box of dryer sheets…Plus three bottles of Shout Spray and Wash.
With all the new faces each pre-season, what goes into choosing numbers for certain newcomers?
DB: If you are a new player under contract you get your choice pending some decisions from the coaches and General Manager. If you are a guy coming in with a pedigree, you get a little more of a choice as opposed to a first-year guy who is young, maybe just out of college or high school. In terms of trialists or guys trying to earn spots on the roster, they basically get a number assigned to them. Going into pre-season, I’ll put together a list of maybe 10 or 15 numbers for trialists once its announced.
Toughest part for you on game-day when away from RFK? Whether it is pre-season or regular-season?
DB: Just being away from home. Being away from home, its always difficult. Its always easier being at home. When you have to rely more on other people as opposed to at home, you can rely on what you know and are comfortable with.
Rumor has it, you now have a smart phone from this decade. Any chance of David Brauzer, D.C. United’s Equipment Manager, joining Twitter and showing the fans some exclusive behind the scenes access?
DB: There may be some sneak peaks coming up here once the season rolls around. There may be some exclusive photos from the equipment room, you never know.
Watch a day in the life with David Brauzer from the D.C. United archives: