INTERVIEW WITH ROB VELEZ FROM TEAM BOOM
By Kevin Rudulph
First off, welcome to the Valken family! We are excited to get the chance to talk with you today and give the fans a little insight into your world. Before we get into your Paintball Life, tell us a little bit about you, for the people who might not know you.
Well lets start with the basics. I'm 29 years old, born and raised in small town of Sherman, Connecticut. Went to high school in New Milford, before I moved out to Chicago in 2006. Bounced around all over since then but now I live in Wisconsin with my wife and 3 dogs. I work for an automotive group managing their digital space and inventory.
What kind of Dogs do you?
Dogs, I've got 1 pit bull rescue, 1 bully, and 1 Pomeranian. My wife and I are big dog lovers and try to help the local shelter when we can.
Can you give us a brief run down of who you have played with over the years and how to turned pro? First real team I ever joined that competed nationally was the Chicago Wiseguys in 2007. My first national tournament ever was d3 5man phoenix 2008, which we won. Played with them and a few other local teams until I joined Boom in 2009. We had a great season in 2011 in d2, had planned on going to d1 with boom in 2012, when our team owner Chris got the call from Renick that he wanted himself and I to play for aftershock.
So you had already played with boom before, then you made the jump to Pro from D2?
Yea. I played with boom's d3 ball line in 2010, then played d2 ball with boom in 2011. I played 3 events in 2011, Chicago, new Jersey and cup. We took 5th, 2nd and 2nd. Things were looking great for the team headed into d1 for 2012. Chris got a call from Renick after most of shock jumped ship to infamous that off season, and me and Chris made the jump to aftershock for 2012, while boom continued on into d1 without us.
Personally, I went from D3, D1 and Pro before the end of the D1 Season… I know it can be a huge gap for most people. Tell me how making that jump from D2 to Pro was for you?
We won 1 match in 2012. Seriously. The team was new minus AJ Lawed. Cody quit halfway through the season for the outlaws, Nick Slowiak just before the season started for the newly forming Houston heat. But still even with all that, it was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. Dreaming about getting to play pro paintball, watching all these guys, and then getting to play them was surreal. Playing for Mike Bruno and Renick Miller was more than I could've imagined. First year I was sucking it all in. 2013 I started wanting to really be better than my competition.
You joined Boom in 2009.. left in 2011…now you're back…see any of the same faces?
Yes, thankfully. Half the reason it will be an easy transition is because of that. Jason Dennis, Chris Jansen, Max Gerhard, Kevin Wench, Eliot Weaver were all on that 2011 team with me.
Why the move over to Boom?
Aj retiring, Ronnie gone, LJ already gone, and Sos considering retirement, ANOTHER rebuild. I was mentally exhausted from the carousel.
Aftershock had a rough 2016 season, what are your feelings towards the team after leaving?
The guys I played with for all those years, and everyone on the team this past year I will never forget how much fun we had, how much we didn’t have and everything in between. Mike Bruno is family, and I don't distance myself from any of them. I am however disappointed in myself that I couldn't help bring the legendary team back to the top.
The Aftershock name is legendary in the sport of paintball…I don't think anyone wants to see the name disappear, but as you mentioned a ton of people have left. Where do you see aftershock heading?
No single player is bigger than Aftershock. With that said, the team will carry on no matter who wears the jersey.
What do you think boom's strengths and weakness are?
2 years of pro experience is both good and bad, they are hungry to compete, but have limited experience at the pro level that kept them out of Sunday mostly so far. Each one of them wants more, and works for it. They have been getting better and better by themselves, and now I'm excited to see how I can help them take the team further.
How will you help a team like boom get to Sunday on a consistent basis?
Help them play more team paintball. Especially with this wall, it's necessary, and if you watch impact or infamous you'll see why communication is almost everything.
You have been known to play multiple positions, where do you see yourself on the field with this new team?
Probably the same role I played on aftershock. Insert player, layout depends on what side. I let everyone else play where they are comfortable and I fill in the blank.
What are your expectations for the 2017 season?
Can't lie and say I don't want to win every single point and win every tournament. But in reality a consistent Sunday appearance and a few runs at a gold medal would be amazing for the team.
What has your 2016 Off Season Looked like? Gym, Practice, Re-Charge you paintball batteries?
Definitely recharged and ready to go. We can't practice how we truly need to play when we play indoors, and being winter in the Midwest indoor is all we get. After the holidays I start playing more frequently. Boom has a couple different tryouts which I will also be attending. My first time playing at SC Village I look forward to it.
Any thing you would like to add or say?
I'd like to thank Chris Jansen from Boom for bringing me back, and of course Valken and Dye Paintball for helping this team do great things this past year and the next. We're in it 2017 #2121