Will the guys in blue win a third straight championship when Jeremy Jones uses the great Earl Strickland as his last wild-card pick? The Mosconi Cup will be broadcast live on Sky Sports from November 30 to December 3.
When Earl Strickland, a legend in his own time, is chosen as Team USA’s last wild card for the 2022 Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas, he won’t take “second best” lying down.
After being forced to withdraw from the competition last year owing to a positive Covid-19 contact tracing, Captain Jeremy Jones decided to recruit Strickland to join his team of Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Oscar Dominguez, and Tyler Styer aboard ‘The Pearl’ to get revenge.
Strickland, who has won a tie-breaking nine Mosconi Cups, was defeated in London. He hoped to help the United States win the tournament for the first time since 2019.
Strickland is a superstar in the pool world, having competed against the likes of snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan in 1996 and won the MVP award when the United States defeated Europe 11-6 in 2005.
The 61-year-old man confessed he was skeptical of being chosen again: “What happened last year was unfathomable, but I wasn’t surprised (positive Covid-19 contact trace).
“No one was immune to the pandemic’s effects. It was inevitable according to the circumstances. That being said, I appreciate the opportunity.
“Perhaps this is my last opportunity to compete for Team USA; if so, I want to leave all on the field.
“It’s almost inconceivable that I’ve returned. Sometimes I doubted that an opportunity like this would ever arise again. I thought there was a chance I might earn my way back into the squad via the Nineball World Rankings and make a comeback.
“My confidence in my strength is high. Recently, I’ve been on a roll with my performances. Given my age and this year’s events, I consider it an honor to be chosen to represent the United States. Even though I am already over the veteran stage, my game is still strong and breaking well.”
Strickland has the support of Team Europe’s captain Jones, who sees him as a potential game-changer. “Earl excels in a lot of different things. Having him on the squad is a huge plus since he is full of life and potential. He has a quick mind and is ready to take aim at the European squad. I’m aware of the significance this has for him.”
Jeremy Jones’s United States team will try to stop Alex Lely’s European side from making it a hat-trick of championships in the Mosconi Cup 2022, which will be held at Bally’s Las Vegas from November 30 to December 3 and broadcast live on Sky Sports.
The current score in the annual transatlantic 9-ball pool competition is Team Europe 14, the United States 13.