On Tuesday night, September 28, 2010, EA Sports kicked off their newest soccer game FIFA Soccer 11 with a Launch Party. Taking place in heart of SoHo Red Bull Space, soccer fans were treated to a night of gaming, food, drinks, and a DJ set featuring Ladytron.
Amongst the guests were the New York Red Bulls supporter clubs, the Empire Supporters Club and the Garden State Supporters. Both supporter clubs had the opportunity to meet and take photos with players from the New York Red Bulls.
Coming off a huge 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy, Dane Richards, Tony Tchani, Medhi Ballouchy, Irving Garcia, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Conor Chinn, Austin da Luz, Roy Miller, Jeremy Hall, Juan Aguelo, and Brian Nielsen squared off against each other in a Launch Party Tournament.
Sinisa Ubiparipovic won the tournament when he bested Conor Chinn in the Championship Match. After the tournament, the players mingled with their fans and other guests. While the players were interacting with the fans and media alike, I had the opportunity to talk with Sean Ruiz.
While many fans may not recognize Sean, trust me when I say this...he's as important to the team as the players, coaches, and management. While the latter are obviously more visible to the public and receive more press time, Sean has been with the Red Bulls since 2005.
Joining his father Fernando, who's been with the team since 1996, Sean kicked off his career with the Red Bulls Academy from 2005-06. During that span, Sean also worked with the Panama National Team during the 2006 Gold Cup before switching to the Red Bulls first team in 2007.
"I'll be honest, winning does make a difference. Despite last year's record, we (the team) were still tight and tried to make the best out of the situation. The steps that the coaches and management have taken has been great," stated Sean.
Currently in his third season with the first team, Sean is the team's Assistant Equipment Manager. It's a job he enjoys because he directly works with the players and coaching staff. His day normally begins at 7 a.m. where he sets up equipment in the pitch and sets up the locker room prior to the players and coaches arrival.
Along with his day to day operations, he's also responsible for handling the team's equipment at Red Bull Arena and for road games. Traveling with the team, he pointed out that variables like weather, location, playing field will determine what to pack for each individual player and coach.
One cool thing about his position is that Sean himself prints all the jerseys for every player. For those of you who adores Bouna Coundoul's jersey, please thank Sean because it was his idea.
When asked his relationship with the coaches, Sean replied, "I'm treated and respected like a player. If I arrive late for a team meeting, miss curfew on road games, or I hold up the team bus, I'm automatically fined."
As far as Sean's interaction with the team, I didn't even bother asking. During our conversation players like Dane Richards would walk to us and give him a fist bump.
When you think about it, Sean is the team's liaison for both young and veterans players and coaches. With a roster consisting of veteran and young players, a guy like Sean is good to have around because he can relate to the younger players. Along with that, he's been with the organization for a long time that he's able to help them with their adjustment to the team.
Players and coaches are important in any team organization but it's the people behind the scenes that makes their lives easier. Once again, I thank Sean for taking a moment of his time to talk me about his role with the team and I wish him the best of luck with the organization.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. Please send him your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org