Next up from among the four South American teams taking part in the Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup is Team Argentina. Like Brasil, Argentina are returning to the competition, after placing 13th in Toronto in 2011. We talked to Head Coach of Team Argentina, Martin Blousson.
Can you tell us how your team selection process worked, for both skaters and coaching staff?
I was invited to be coach of the team last november. The team was facing a new try out to start a new period and then I worked along on the selection process with five other players from the most important teams/leagues in the country. The try out involved the participation of more than fifty players, some of them sent videos from outside Argentina, and some of them traveled to Buenos Aires from different cities of the country.
How are the team preparing for the the World Cup?
Nowadays we're training two days a week. From the roster selected to play in Dallas we only have Sargentina away from us, but she visited us two months ago and we had the time to share some derby time with her. If everything goes well we'll have a couple of bouts in the US on the previous days to the world cup.
Dallas is a long way away, how have the team been raising funds to get there?
We have been working all this year to collect enough money to cover all the hotel and food expenses during our days in Dallas. Each player has to pay for her own ticket, which is a huge cost for all of us, some of them are even taking two jobs to get enough money for that trip. We've done some bootcamps for local players, we have some merchandise on sale at almost every derby event; we also have been doing some crowdfunding. (We still have this one going: http://www.gofundme.com/cfuaqg We've received a lot of help of all the derby leagues and teams in Argentina, the people here have been most supportive with the team. We've also got the help of some sponsors. Atomatrix has helped us a lot through NistevoUSA.com, the local Traful On Ice, Traveling Skates, Magma Pro, and also Sisu and Derbyskinz from outside the country.
At the time of the last World Cup, Roller Derby was only just beginning to be established in Argentina. How does that compare with now?
The experience of the national team in that world cup was of a great importance for the whole local derby, for all that learning expanded to all the teams through time. Roller Derby is still working hard to build it's own place in the country. In most of the cities we're still dealing with the problems of finding where to train properly, for example. But the level has increase considerably, most of the teams have been growing a lot and trying to improve the organization of the sport.
Having entered the 2011 World Cup as an unknown, what are Team Argentina's aims going into this year's competition?
We will win bouts, we will fight for a place in the podium. :)