This week London RHC sat down with club vice-captain Joel De Figueiredo to talk all things Dragons, Premier League and England…
Q: What does London RHC mean to you?
A lot. I suggested the idea of starting London RHC to (now President) Nik Bartlett and Jaime Perez a few years ago. We pulled together some personnel we thought could build a club and now here it is, an established PL team with a youth set up on the way. The work put in, particularly by Nik, Joe Gotts and the more committed players has been brilliant and while I think we have a world of untapped potential in London, we’re definitely heading in the right direction.
On a personal level the club is also filled with some really good friends. There’s great camaraderie in the camp. For someone like me with a corporate job, seeing those guys every week makes life a lot easier… and really fun!
Q: Do you have a specific role at the club?
Off the rink I’m part of the committee and will be helping at the youth academy, while on the rink of course I hope to use what I have with the other boys to get some more silverware in our cupboard. But it’s going to take each and everyone one of us to fight to be the best we can be as a team.
Q: Tell us about your experience in Portugal and with England…
I played in Portugal just for a few months when I was 18 and returned to attend university. I played with AA Espinho because it was the club of my dad (and the legend Victor Hugo). It was amazing to be there and play against some fantastic clubs. I was told I could stay and join either Gulpilhares or Porto the following season, which would have been something else, but university was always more important to me.
Representing England is always an honour. Unfortunately we’re amateur here and have to pay for ourselves, so sadly the costs have been too much for me to commit to more than the 5 times I have. I’m really disappointed we couldn’t get a team to China this year, but hopefully we can afford to go to the World Roller Games Barcelona 2019 and compete with the best.
Q: What did you think of the World Roller Games 2017 in China?
To be honest I was on holiday for most of it, so I didn’t get to see much! I saw some of the highlights and the final though. It looked like a great tournament insofar as a lot of the scores were so close. I mean, when was the last time we saw Colombia draw with Italy and Mozambique only lose by 1 to Spain.
Q: How far can London go in the PL this season?
As far as we want is the short answer. I’ve been there and won it before and we certainly have what it takes: really talented players and a coach who will work on what’s important to get us there.
We’re working very hard on our fitness and the fluidity of our play. The coach has also brought smiles back on our faces, all of which have been missing somewhat previously.
I think we need to maximise our strengths more and most importantly find consistency. We know we can beat anyone, it’s now about finding the balance in our style, not leaving ourselves exposed, and the consistency to win regularly. I’m excited about the new season though and want to get my hands on that trophy again!