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Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 4, 2016 – In the first week back in Argentina, Julio Velasco, the coach of the Argentine Seniors’ Men Team, he faced already strong and intensive duties. First, he started working with a group of players summon at Cenard facilities including some Seniors’, some U 23 and others invited to train with the light blue and white jersey team, as he has been doing since he took charge two years ago of the premier Argentine men’s team, to cover the absences of players that have played or are still playing the final series of the Argentine and foreign Leagues and that will join the team later on as they are free from their clubs’ duties. Very near in the future he will report the FIVB World League 2016Official Roster that will be outside from an exceptional situation, it will be the key roster for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, too.

Velasco mentions: “This year we will not have Team A and Team B as we did during the last two years, really to express myself better, team B will include mostly U 23 players and some of the FIVB World League players that won’t travel (Argentina plays this year all its matches as visiting team), but need to maintain their activity as they could be summon for the Olympic Games. As all years, I have watched all Argentine League matches and nearly all of the matches of foreign leagues with Argentine players included. I have received the statistics of the clubs and of my staff at the Argentine Team, and the opinion of Julian Alvarez, Hernan Ferraro and Camilo Soto, mostly about the players that participate of the Argentine League”.

“I want to make use of this interview to thank all Clubs, their coaches and the statisticians that as usual collaborate with the National Team. In the last two years I have tried many different players but this year, we will work with a smaller group of players but there are some facts in which we must clarify ideas. One of them is the Opposite Player role, where we are training Bruno Lima, that will be going to play the Seniors’ Pan-American Games in that position. We are also training Nicolas Lazo after watching him playing outstanding well two final matches of the League. We are also studying and evaluating Jan Martinez as at the Olympic Games Rio, each team can take only 12 players and therefore one of the Wing Spikers can replace the Libero if needed. But when we are talking about a young player we do not want to rush. The other players have been already part of the National Team at some time during the last two years and we will make the final decisions very soon”.

“I believe that the Argentine Seniors’ National Team is not a roster of the best players in general but of the best players for each role, where the athlete must perform his utmost at any competition”.

During his first working week, Velasco had to take very important decisions. “This week I informed Javier Filardi my decision of not summons him for the National Team. I have thanked him for all that he gave to the team as player and captain of the team during these years. He was very important for our playing formula, thanks to his great and outstanding capacity in receiving serves but also because he always had a winning mentality and the ability of a true captain, also outside the playing field. But his conditions in an advance age for a player are not at the best level and as I told him during our talk, there are players that if they are not part of the starting line-up player’s roster it is better that they are not part of the team. I believe it is the right moment for the team to make a quality jump also in their mentality, even though Javier won’t be here to help us. The Gold Medal at the Pan-American Games Toronto 2015 have a lot to do with his contribution and I believe it is the best award for his career at the National Team”.

We asked Velasco an opinión about the Argentine League and he answered: “I believe that in Argentina very good volleyball is played. The individual technical quality of the players is very good, and also the organization of the teams in the Change of Serving and Break Phase. It is clear that the physical strength and the power are not as strong as in other international Leagues, but that depends a lot on the characteristics of our athletes and it does not happen only in Volleyball. Nevertheless the work done by the clubs and by the staff of the Youth’s and Juniors’ National Teams during the last years has given its results and we have taller and stronger players than in the past. It is also obvious that the large distances that the teams have to travel on buses to participate of the local championship do not allow that the players do the right physical training at their utmost and as often as needed. But I also believe that the work on maximum strength and power, even though there are these adverse conditions, can be improved over all with the younger players. I have seen great developments and improvements in many different playing aspects and also the fact of having more players using the power in the spike. I think, as many of my colleagues in Argentina that in the country the “half hand” spike was used more than enough and of security but only in the cases where power cannot be used. I believe that there are two aspects in the game that can be improved at the clubs and at the National Team. One is the aggressiveness and the serving quality, floating or jumping and the other one is to make more use of the pipe (spiking in area 2, second line) as combination of spike, not only after receiving the ball but also as counter-attack”.

At the 2016 calendar, before the great goal of the Olympic Games, the FIVB World League is an outstanding demanding competition. The Argentine Team returned to Group 1 and in consecutive weeks we will face the most powerful teams of the world. Brazil (Olympic and World Championship runner-up), Poland (World Championship), Russia (Olympic Champion), Iran (Asian Champion), USA (World Cup Champion), Italy (World Cup runner-up), and the strong Serbia, that will be phased in the way of the Argentine Team from June 16th to July 3rd, always as visiting team in Brazil, Poland and Iran as the Olympic Games changed the playing formula of the premier FIVB World competition for the best teams and Argentina will not play at home for the first time in its history at this competition.