Today the charter representing USA Roller Derby for the 2018 World Cup was announced, but the United States national team has had several other new things revealed this year as well. Not only have they changed the image of the team, but they have worked to bring unity to a team that pulls skaters from teams throughout the country. Looking ahead, the program is also laying the groundwork for utilizing many more talented skaters who didn’t make the list today.
2018 USA National Charter
USA Roller Derby will be coached by Drew Flowers “OMG WTF” of Gotham Girls Roller Derby and will be assisted by Tim Burns “Dirty Monkey” of Denver Roller Derby. The following names make up the 2018 charter along with their home league and how many times they have made the cut for the National Team.
Jennifer Adkins “Trauma” – Texas Rollergirls – 2
Tracy Akers – Denver Roller Derby – 3
Cassie Beck – Rat City Rollergirls – 1
Rachel Bockheim “Jackie Daniels” – Texas Rollergirls – 2
Hillary Buscovick “Scald Eagle” – Rose City Rollers – 2
Jessica Chestnut – Rose City Rollers – 1
Lauren Corry “Caf Fiend” – Gotham Girls Roller Derby – 1
Roxy Dallas – Gotham Girls Roller Derby – 1
Raquel Davila “Satan’s Little Helper” – Angel City Derby Girls – 1
Aja Gair “Barbara Ambush” – Texas Rollergirls – 1
Jennifer Gaskins “Snot Rocket Science” – Jacksonville RollerGirls – 3
Tess Harrison “Baller Shot Caller” – Atlanta Rollergirls – 2
Erin Jackson – Jacksonville RollerGirls – 1
Nadia Kean “Smarty Pants” – Texas Rollergirls – 3
Laci Knight – Angel City Derby Girls – 1
Lynn Klas “Juke Boxx” – London Rollergirls – 3
Sarah McKemie “Sexy Slaydie” – Gotham Girls Roller Derby – 3
Loren Mutch – Rose City Rollers – 1
Lacey Ramon “Carmen Getsome” – Rat City Rollergirls – 2
Jes Rivas – Rose City Rollers – 2
Jessica Rodriguez Peiffer “Licker N Split” – Rose City Rollers – 1
Shaina Serelson – Victorian Roller Derby League – 2
Vanessa Sites “V-Diva” – Gotham Girls Roller Derby – 3
Jacqueline Thermitus “Blacque Jac” – Atlanta Rollergirls – 1
Nicole Williams “Bonnie Thunders” – Gotham Girls Roller Derby – 3
This list is shorter than years past which included 32 skaters, while this one has just 25 names. All but two skaters on this charter will be participating at WFTDA Championships in November, with talent being pulled from just ten different leagues this year compared to a larger group in 2011 that had skaters from 18 different leagues. Nearly half the list consists of skaters new to USA Roller Derby, and eight of the repeat members are representing a different home league this time around.
To catch us up on all the changes within USA Roller Derby, we chatted with Emily Rawdon, aka “Bourbon Bruiser”, who is the organization’s new Director of Business Relations. She tried out for the team herself, but ended up with a job behind the scenes instead. “It wound up that it was a good fit for me, and now I’m overseeing all of the business side of things,” Emily said. She came in at a transitional time as USA Roller Derby strives to separate themselves from USARS Roller Derby who is affiliated with the International Fédération of Roller Sports (FIRS).
One of the things that has recently changed with the team’s re-branding efforts, albeit a small tweak, is their name. “We are making an avid bid for people to refer to us as USA Roller Derby.” Emily explained that this came from the fact that USARS has their own National team, which they announced a roster for this year, and is affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee. “They call themselves Team USA, the USOC has a trademark on Team USA, so the next thing in line is USA Roller Derby.” The charter released today is the National team that is working towards the Roller Derby World Cup under the WFTDA ruleset.
Changing their name comes with a new logo of course, but the significance of that switch was more than just making a graphic that fits merchandise better. The old logo was a very specific view of a woman, and Emily spoke about the inclusiveness of roller derby today, and how we don’t all fit the same image. “Moving forward, as roller derby becomes more and more professional at the highest levels, you need something that is not only marketable, but is something that everybody can get behind, everyone can identify with.” So now you can find them on various social media platforms under “USA Roller Derby” with their new shield logo, designed by Lewis Clark of Understory Designs.
Also seen on those platforms is the hashtag #WeAreOne, which Emily said came from a cheer that OMG had the skaters say at each tryout. With people coming from all over the country, they are joining together for one unified national team, much like people do at a smaller level for their All-Star teams at home. “It’s the same as their home leagues but it’s putting them in this space where they’re from a multitude of leagues and they’re coming together as one. One team, one goal, one nation; very unified.”
Another way that USA Roller Derby wants to utilize this wide array of talent is by introducing regional teams in 2018. With eight of the top ten WFTDA teams located within the States, there are a lot of people skating at a high level who are competing for a spot on the American team. Emily described regional teams as a way to use a larger pool of skaters at a National level to help further the sport in this country. “When you try out for USA Roller Derby that’s what you want, you want a challenge outside of your home league, you want something that is next level.” So while only 25 people made the World Cup charter today, those who are looking for a high-caliber derby opportunity can look for more details about this regional program next year.
The page for the 2018 World Cup says that the location will be announced soon*, but with charter announcements coming from teams such as Team England and now the USA, people are itching to know the details of the next cup. Emily said that at this point there weren’t many known details, but confirmed that it most likely won’t be in the United States and that it will be towards the end of 2018. “We are planning like it’s not going to be in the United States, because if you over plan, then you are safe.” With previous locations being in Toronto and Dallas, many are calling for a European location this time around.
Up next for USA Roller Derby is their first practice on the Monday following WFTDA Championships in Portland, Oregon, in November. They will also have a booth at Champs with merchandise and appearances by USA skaters.
Keep coming back to Derby Central for more Roller Derby World Cup news and announcements, and if your National team has charters or updates to announce, please send that information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The Roller Derby World Cup later announced the cup would actually take place February 1-4 in 2018 instead of the previously anticipated date of 2o17.