By: Jason Bowman
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Team USA, and the sport of pool in the United States, in the days and weeks following this year’s Mosconi Cup.
Can Team USA’s big win inspire a new generation of poolplayers? We saw how important the youth movement was in finally reclaiming the Cup. Three of the five members of this year’s team are in their early to mid-20’s (Styer 23, Thorpe 24 and Woodward 25).
Coach Johan Ruijysink commented after the victory how important the youth are to the success of the sport. Will today’s poolplayers introduce their children to the sport through youth programs like the APA Juniors League?
Will fans of the sport help introduce non-players to the game? Will the billiard industry rally around Team USA for the betterment of the entire sport?
For the pool industry to truly thrive, it starts by getting more people playing the game – through leagues, tournaments, etc. More players playing means more cues sold, tables played on, pool rooms open, etc. That in turn means more money for billiard industry leaders to support Team USA and other important initiatives – like the current push to get billiards into the 2024 Olympics in France.
With the New Year almost upon us, what better time to get a friend to join your local APA League?
As for the players and coaches themselves, they’ll go their separate ways after London, most likely crossing paths along the tournament trail over the next 365 days, some in pursuit of another Mosconi Cup appearance next year.
I spoke with Johan briefly after the win in London and he was non-committal about a return next year. He invested a great deal of time in the preparation and training of Team USA, which meant sacrificing his own time as one of the elite instructors in the world. His services will no doubt be in high demand after he helped guide Team USA to its first Cup victory in nearly a decade.
Should he leave, you’d have to think Jeremy Jones might be the strongest choice for Captain after Johan brought him on as Vice-Captain this year. Johan raved about Jeremy’s connection with the players, particularly his experience as a former Mosconi Cup Champion.
As for the players, Shane, Corey and Billy were headed to Qatar for the World 9-Ball Championship in mid-December. Shane would be the most heavily favored of the three players in terms of potentially winning the World Championship.
Most, if not all, of the team will likely turn up at Derby City in January – their first tournament stateside since winning the Cup. I would imagine the entire team is looking forward to getting back to the United States and celebrating with their families, friends and, of course, the fans.
It’s kind of weird to think about some of them potentially squaring-off deep into one of the brackets at these upcoming tournaments. Skyler vs Shane!?
There will be several big tournaments as we move into the winter months, but all eyes in the pool community will be looking ahead to spring as Matchroom Sport presents the first U.S. Open under their brand in Las Vegas. Matchroom acquired the event naming rights from the Barry Behrman family after the legendary promoter passed away in 2016.
If the popularity of the Mosconi Cup is any indication, the entire industry can look forward to what Matchroom will do with the U.S. Open next April!