Brandy Lay and Chris Zitterbart prepare jerseys

Labor of love: Rapids Equipment Manager Brandy Lay prepared 117 jerseys in three days

Brandy Lay, above left, and Chris Zitterbart placing pink ribbons on Colorado Rapids jerseys

When the Rapids decided to wear on the front of their jerseys for Saturday’s match against the Seattle Sounders, it meant that the club would be helping raise awareness and funds for those affected by the flooding throughout the state. But it also meant a great deal - and a lot of work - for the team’s Equipment Manager Brandy Lay and his staff.

After replenishing his stock of authentic burgundy jerseys (which usually runs low near the end of the season), Lay heat-pressed onto the front of 54 jerseys – two for each field players – for use in Saturday’s game and donation for the post-match fundraising auction. He did the same for six new goalkeeper jerseys, all in the color pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“The jerseys that are normally worn have stains on them, so to clean those out and get a new set of jerseys, the new ones actually shine,” says Lay. “It’s great to see the HelpColoradoNow, how that looks on there. Wayne [Brant, Rapids Director of Marketing & Fan Development] and JJ [Jeff Jacobsen, Vice President of Commercial Operations] did a lot of work changing it from last year. In the end, it’s fun to see a new set.”

The Rapids have worn on their shirts once before, on July 4, 2012, and the writing has been updated to become more visible this year.

“Last year’s [writing] was actually three colors: a white, a burgundy and a gray. It definitely pops more this year with just white and black. It’s also bigger, and it looks that much better this year,” said Lay.

Next up was the task of making two replacement shirts for each player, again using the heat press to add names and numbers. These jerseys will be used either in San Jose next Wednesday (if the Earthquakes wear their blue uniforms) or at home against Vancouver on October 19.

Lay also made three additional jerseys that were requested by the league, with Drew Moor, Edson Buddle and Gabriel Torres’ names and numbers on the back.

To top off the effort, pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon logos were put on the front of each jersey just above the adidas logo.

In all, it took the bulk of three days for Lay to complete the work – a total of 117 jerseys. In the end, though, the work was meaningful because of what it represented.

“Loveland is my hometown, and my family has a small place just up the road into the mountains in Estes Park, and those two areas were affected,” said Lay. “I for sure thought of that as I was doing the shirts, just thinking about those two towns and all the devastation in between, and the lives lost; that certainly hits home for me.”

Thousands of people will see, both in the stadium and on television, and learn how to help in relief efforts for people in his home state – a just reward for Lay’s hard work this week.