America’s finest pocket billiards stars on a mission
The best pool players in the United States are visiting San Diego from May 22nd to 26th as part of the national squad’s preparations for an assault on the Europe v USA Mosconi Cup this December.
The eight man troop of the nation’s finest shooters have been selected to wear their national colors, and will represent the United States of America in the 21st annual Mosconi Cup which will be held in Blackpool, England in from December 1-4.
Unquestionably, the most prestigious as well as widely watched pool competition in the world, it is the Ryder Cup of pool as five man teams representing America and Europe do battle over four days of intense competition.
San Diego has been selected as the first stop on the team’s itinerary in their preparation to bring home the Mosconi Cup, following European domination in recent years. The team will make a series of stops across the country in the lead up to the big event, visiting hospitals, doing charity exhibitions, offering instructional clinics, and competing in a series of Mosconi Cup-style matches against the very best local players.
San Diego was chosen as it offers the team a unique experience found nowhere else – the opportunity to train with the celebrated Navy SEAL’s whose home base is in the Southern California port city.
2014 will see a new, younger American team and their non-playing captain Mark Wilson believes that the dedication, discipline, skill, attitude, and professionalism of the SEALs will provide motivation and inspiration to the young players.
Team USA will be honored to be guided by retired Navy SEAL and San Diego resident, Lt. Commander Amir Pishdad, who is coordinating the charity visits and Navy SEAL contact with the team.
San Diego residents who would like to engage with the future of American pocket billiards, and see pool played at the highest level, are invited to visit On Cue Billiards on Saturday May 24th. There will be an instructional clinic from 1 pm to 4pm; and a Mosconi Cup-style match starting at 8pm.
On Sunday May 25th there will be a charity fundraiser at On Cue Billiards from 4 – 8pm. This will be the perfect opportunity for fans to come out, meet and play against America’s finest.
On Cue Billiards is located at 8308 Parkway Drive, La Mesa, Ca. Tel: 619-463-8759
The team roster is listed below:
Mosconi Cup 2014 – Team U.S.A. Roster
Shane Van Boening – Vice-Captain
Born: July 14, 1983
Resides: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Nickname: ‘The South Dakota Kid’
Captains Remarks: “Any reasonable person who was building a new team would look to have Shane to build around given his professionalism and success. Even more importantly, his character and principles are just the thing for new players to emulate. He sets a great example and I expect to rely on him for leadership this year.”
If there is a discussion regarding the best player in the world, Shane’s name is sure to be mentioned. Over the past seven years he has garnered many wins in multiple disciplines. Player of the Year honors, seven Mosconi Cup appearances, and tournament titles too numerous to mention. He routinely excels against the strongest players and deepest fields. He exemplifies the work ethic, sportsmanship, and proficiency expected from all members of the team. Team USA could not have a better leader on the table.
Shane Van Boening – “I have been looking forward to another chance to win in the biggest setting. Winning is what I am focused on everyday, and I want this one more than ever.”
Born: April 12, 1973
Resides: Hesperia, California
Nickname: “Mr. 400”
Captain’s remark – “I am pleased with what John brings to the table beyond his stellar play. He is passionate about pool and a very approachable person. He is blessed with a keen sense of humor and does not take himself too seriously. He comes up with very thought provoking points for consideration and positive suggestions that will be quite a plus for our team.”
John is the senior member of the squad. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the best straight pool players in the world, having run 400 balls (and earning his nickname). He is not a one dimensional player however; and has also won major tournaments in 9 ball (US Open), one pocket, ten ball, as well as 14.1 (World Tournament of 14.1). He has participated in the Mosconi Cup once before (2006), and is excited to prepare for this year’s competition.
John Schmidt – “Being chosen for this Team USA and the chance to play for a Mosconi Cup is the most humbling experience and the biggest honor of my life.”
Born: November 20, 1977
Resides: Cape Coral, Florida
Nickname: “The Prince of Pool”
Captain’s Remarks – “I felt that he has not only experience but also a youthful exuberance and fresh perspective that were too compelling for him not to not be included. I view Corey as a huge asset to our team.”
Corey is recognized as one of the most talented and creative players in the world. He has many tournament victories including the US Open 9-Ball, and has seven previous Mosconi Cup appearances.
Corey Deuel – “I’ve experienced some great highs and lows in the Mosconi Cup, and I have some new ideas to offer for preparation of this year’s team – concepts that I will share with every team member. The Blackpool venue is so inspiring that I can hardly wait for December.”
Born: July 8, 1983
Resides: On the road
Captain’s Remarks – “This guy has a ton of heart along with a great work ethic, and will be primed for a great year. He puts himself out there by playing many events throughout the US and I am pleased to have him on the team.”
Brandon is one of the strongest young American players with many victories in regional tournaments, and individual victories over some of the best players in the world. He has one previous Mosconi Cup appearance.
Brandon Shuff – “Team USA has a lot to prove this year and I believe I can be a valuable asset to our team’s structure. I believe in Mark Wilson and the future of pool, and am willing to do whatever it takes to bring the Mosconi Cup home.”
Born: November 28, 1987
Resides: Palm Harbor, Florida
Captain’s Remarks – ” I have known of this kid’s talent and all around skills for years, and now is the time that all of his previous success and experience will make the difference.”
Justin excels in several different pool disciplines. He has won both the one pocket and the banks divisions at the Southern Classic against the very best players in the world. He exhibits a very well rounded skill set, and will be a great addition to his first Mosconi Cup team.
Justin Hall – “I always wanted to make the Mosconi Cup team, and now that the opportunity is here, I will further intensify my training. I love being under pressure to perform and am looking forward to both the challenge to make the final five, and the opportunity to win on the biggest stage.”
Born: March 26, 1985
Resides: Sylmar, California
Captain’s Remarks – “Oscar epitomizes the new face of the sport – positivity, work ethic, passion, and great attitude. I played many times against his father Ernesto, and I knew this kid would be an ideal candidate. Beyond being respectful he is just the kind of guy that I would want by my side in combat.”
Oscar has appeared in the Mosconi Cup once previously. He has many regional tour victories and a major victory in the 2009 Turning Stone Classic. Admired by his peers for his competitiveness, demeanor, skill, and professionalism he is a great addition to this year’s roster.
Oscar Dominguez -” The pinnacle of my career was the 2009 Mosconi Cup victory. It’s quite an amazing experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the team in 2014. I’m looking forward to working with Mark Wilson and the seven other great players selected. I feel I’m a better, more seasoned, and smarter player than in 2009 and I am eager to start the preparation for a Mosconi Cup victory in 2014.”
Born: August 20, 1987
Resides: Fairview Heights, Illinois
Captain’s Remarks – “Justin has been a good player since childhood; able to break and run out a rack on a 9′ table since he was just eleven. Given his recent form he will generate some real excitement and quite possibly shake up the pool hierarchy.”
Justin has many regional victories and a major tournament win in the one pocket division at the Southern Classic in 2012. This is his first Mosconi Cup team.
Justin Bergman – “I have only dreamed of ever making Team USA and going to the Mosconi Cup. I have been very dedicated the last couple of years and feel that I am improving and getting results. This is the next step.”
Born: June 4, 1979
Resides: Watertown, Connecticut
Nickname: “The Giant Killer”
Captain’s Remarks – “Jeremy is a solid candidate that tends to let his cue do the talking. I feel that he may have been overlooked in the past and I am thrilled to have him as a team member. He will contribute a great deal to the US effort in 2014.”
Another of the “young guns” making their first Mosconi Cup Team, Jeremy is one of the strongest players in the northeast. He has many regional tournament victories and strong showings against some of the best players in the world.
Jeremy Sossei – “Getting the call to possibly represent the USA in the Mosconi Cup has been a dream come true. I’m ecstatic. I’ve been working hard on my game the last couple of years and I believe I’m ready. With team work we can get the Cup back.”
Mark Wilson – Team Captain
Born: June 29, 1955
Resides: Prairietown, Illinois
Nickname: “The St. Louis Shooter”
Mark has two previous Mosconi Cup appearances as a player (sinking the winning nine ball for the American victory in the very first Cup), and will make his first appearance as Captain in 2014. He is well known as one of the best pool instructors in the world, and has spent his entire adult life studying the game. He most recently has started a successful billiards program at Lindenwood University; making it the first American university to offer scholarships for pocket billiards.
Mark Wilson – “It is a privilege to be included in this year’s Cup. We will have a young team that will exhibit the highest possible standard of excellence in play, demeanor, and sportsmanship. We look forward to bringing back the Mosconi Cup in December.”
Don Wardell, M.D. – Captain’s Assistant
Born: October 21, 1953
Resides: Indianapolis, Indiana
Nickname: “Willie Betmore”
Captain’s Remarks – “Don will add wisdom and enthusiasm to the team with his leadership and strong work ethic. The team and I are blessed to have such a talented individual who is sincerely passionate about the sport.”
Don is a practicing physician with a passion for billiards; and a strong interest in billiards history, sports medicine, training techniques, and biomechanics. He is the co-author with Mark Wilson of the instructional textbook “Play Great Pool.” Also along with Mark he is on the board of directors of the non-profit charitable organization Black Widow Foundation. He advises a number of professional players, and is excited to contribute to the preparations for this year’s Mosconi Cup.