Dryjanski assists Indy Eleven on field

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Senior sports marketing and sports management major Justin Dryjanski (back) practices with the Indy Eleven soccer team. He interns as their equipment manager. Photo contributed by Scott Stewart

Senior sports marketing and sports management major Justin Dryjanski (back) practices with the Indy Eleven soccer team. He interns as their equipment manager. Photo contributed by Scott Stewart

It is 7:15 in the morning and senior sports marketing and sports management major Justin Dryjanski is out the door and on his way to Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.  Dryjanski could complain about the early  wake up call and 40-minute drive, but he does not. He is on his way to his internship with Indianapolis’ professional soccer team, Indy Eleven.

Dryjanski is the equipment manager intern and begins his day by preparing the materials needed for a morning practice.

“I make sure all the gear is ready,” he said. “I get the balls, the pinnies [and] help the trainers with the Gatorade coolers and put them on the golf cart.”

Besides preparing the equipment, he also is an integral part of practice itself.

“I help with the drills, shag the soccer balls for the team and set up the next set of them,” Dryjanski said. “I also help those who are staying after to work on shooting drills.”

Along with those duties,  he makes sure the team has a clean set of practice gear waiting for them in their lockers for the next practice.

Dryjanski has connections at the University of Indianapolis to thank for his internship. He previously worked as the men’s basketball team manager, and that position helped him land the Indy Eleven internship.

“This wasn’t an open internship,” Dryjanski said. “One of the [UIndy] players’ dad is good friends with President Manuel and emailed him. We met up at the senior banquet, we talked and he set me up with the trainer for the Indy Eleven, Brian Gerlach. Brian gave me some advice and asked me what I would want to do and other internship possibilities.”

The position Dryjanski has was not available until January, but he kept in contact with Gerlach.

Then around November, the previous intern left, and they asked him if he would like the position.

According to Dryjanski, the process was slow but eventually he interviewed with the head coach, who asked him if he could come to Grand Park.

Dryjanski said that one of the perks of this internship is that he gets to watch the team play. Growing up an all-around sports fan and now being able to sit on the sidelines with a team is something he has looked forward to.

“We played Butler University in an exhibition game,” Dryjanski said. “It was my first experience with a game day and how everyone gets ready. We had to be there early, and it was raining, so we were all wondering if we were even going to play. It was cool getting set up and watching everyone play. It was a different environment.”

As equipment manager, Dryjanski spends a great deal of time with the team so he gets to interact with the players and coaches.

“In the mornings, they always come into the equipment room and say hi and give high fives,” he said. “The assistant coach is really helping me get to know what I need to be doing and keeping me on the right track.”

Dryjanski said that his background prepared him for this position, but it comes with much more responsibility.  When he worked with the UIndy men’s basketball team, he shared duties with the coaches, players and trainers.

“This has a lot more gear [than UIndy basketball],” he said. “The basketball coaches did a little more of the inventory. But with the Indy Eleven, it’s more up to me. The coaches right now are helping me, but eventually I’ll be on my own.”

Dryjanski hopes that this internship may lead to a full-time job, and maybe to one day move up to the front office with the Indy Eleven or another team.

He said his advice for those looking for an internship is “don’t give up, stay positive and be on the lookout for any possibilities.”

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