Does Team USA need help?

In the early years of the Mosconi Cup, Team USA dominated over Team EUROPE. But that was then, and this is now. Team USA hasn’t won The Cup in the past seven years.
Speculation abounds as to why the USA can’t seem to win anymore, but one theory in particular seems to make sense: that is, without strong sponsor backing, American players find it very difficult to take time away from chasing tournament money in order to spend that time training with their team. In other words, they don’t have the necessary resources with which to prepare properly.
Mike Bates from Bull Shooters Billiards in Phoenix was recently made aware of this fact. Mike’s awareness came in a roundabout way as he had agreed to host a large dart tournament produced by RedEye Rhino, a prominent manufacturer of sports apparel. It just so happens that RER's sister company, Ultimate Team Gear, has the contract to manufacture the uniforms for the Mosconi Cup teams, and they shared the revelation of the American team’s plight with Mike.
RER also shared something else with Mike: they gave him a quantity of specially manufactured Mosconi Cup chalk holders for him to sell, with the stipulation that all proceeds would go to Team USA.
Bull Shooters immediately advertised the “chalkers” on Facebook for the price of $10 each, and added the explanation that the money would go to benefit Team USA. It didn’t take long for a very good question to be brought up: Since both Mosconi Cup Teams are paid very well by Matchroom Sports, why were we trying to raise money for Team USA?
To find an answer to that question, I contacted Mark Wilson, the coach for Team USA.
Mark’s answer was both cordial and candid. He explained that while the team members are indeed paid well, there are many expenses associated with the preparation for The Cup that are not compensated by Matchroom. This puts quite a burden on a coach who is already under considerable pressure to produce a winner. Mark has taken it upon himself to try and find innovative ways to gain public support for the team; one of which is the commemorative chalk holders that Bull Shooters is selling. Mark paid for those out of his own pocket, and he would like to, at the very least, recover his investment.
Mark shared a few more details with me that I won’t go into here, but the “bottom line” is this: yes, Team USA could use our help. Europe can recruit team members from England, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and a host of other countries, all of which are loaded with great players these days, but America can recruit from where? Only the USA. Also, Europe enthusiastically supports their team, no matter which specific country each member comes from, and helps them perform as a team. It is a total team effort. Together they are, TEAM EUROPE!
But what are we? We have sat back and watched while our coaches, captains, and players have done the best they can on their own time and dime, and then criticized them when they failed. We seem to have taken the attitude that the USA is the birthplace of pool and should, therefore, automatically produce the best players in the world, whether it be individually or as a team. We feel that we shouldn’t be expected to chip in in any way.
But none of that is true anymore. Many other countries have adopted pool as a national sport and are supporting their players with coaches, training, and financial aid that puts them, as a group, on a higher level. While in America – the “birthplace of pool” and home to at least a half-million competition amateur players – we still shun the team concept at the professional level. We seem to put no value on teamwork or anything that does not offer us a direct reward. We, therefore, provide our professional players very little in the way of team support.
That needs to change. If the USA is ever going to win another Mosconi Cup, we will all have to find ways to become part of the team. Together we will have to be, TEAM USA!