Carlos Vela Walks Off Field Trainers Injury LAFC vs GAL 200822 IMG

There is a lot that goes into ensuring an MLS match goes off without a hitch. We all see the 22 players, coaches and referees all in frame on and around the pitch, but there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the fans and supporters alike can enjoy the beautiful game. Rarely do we get to highlight some of those more behind the scenes figures, those we see run out on the field for brief moments when a player may need medical attention.

Now we do.

Announced earlier this week, LAFC’s training staff, Sean Kupiec (Head Athletic Trainer) and Luis Ramirez (Athletic Trainer), were named Professional Soccer Athletic Trainers’ Society (PSATS) 2020 Athletic Trainer Staff of the Year.

As LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley aptly noted in his ode to essential workers, often these duties go unrecognized, “but they have been essential all along. Lives depend on them every day. Our way of life does, too. Every group, every team, depends on people who rarely get thanked. The people who get noticed only on those rare occasions when they mess up, as all of us sometimes do.”

In a year complete with increased challenges to the health and safety of players both on and off the field, Kupiec and Ramirez stepped into an ever-changing landscape, involving everything from ensuring LAFC’s players were staying safe in individual workouts when team gatherings were no longer permitted, to safely implementing new COVID-10 testing procedures when play picked back up.

“It is a special feeling to be recognized by your peers. Luis and I are humbled and grateful for the honor,” said Kupiec. “We share this award with everyone who contributes to LAFC Medical. 2020 was a tremendously challenging year and the MLS season would not have been possible without the hard work of every athletic trainer and therapist in the league, they all deserve to be recognized.”

Congratulations to these two outstanding LAFC staff members. The game goes on because of you.