June 9, 2012 by Scott Rodriguez
First and foremost, thanks so much for taking the time our of your schedule to sit down and do this interview, we know it's hard work traveling the world smashing everyone. Take your time...there are some tough questions, but that's what makes it fun. :-)
Why did you decide to move to Colorado? How long do you plan on staying here?
Colorado is the best place I've been to that I considered living, so I moved here. The foos is great, weather is great, and it has a big airport so flights are cheaper. I plan on staying in Colorado for the long haul. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else now.
Awesome! What do you think of our scene so far compared to other places you've lived?
In Kentucky, there was good talent, but not that many players came out. Colorado now has the best scene in the United States in my opinion, for player base and skill level.
Double awesome! Anyone fooser wanting to be the best, you know where to come!
What was it like winning the World Cup? Can you describe the team atmosphere there compared to what we're used to seeing in regular tour events? Was it more or less pressure?
So the World Cup is an event all its own, meaning there's not a tournament like it. The closest now is the North American Cup.
It's a strange mix of pressure. It may add a little pressure knowing your whole team needs you to play well but you also know your whole team is there for you. We never get mad at each other, ever, and always support one another. You play for a higher being, meaning the team. When we won the World Cup, it was a great feeling because we all shared the moment. Most the time it's just you or a partner. But now we're talking about a country. It gives me goosebumps to this day.
Do you even feel pressure playing? How do you deal with it? If not, have you ever, and how did you learn to control it?
Pressure can come at the weirdest times. Sometimes I don't feel pressure at a major, but then you could feel it at a local tournament when you're in a close match with someone with a quarter your skill. Meaning, it's all in your head. For me pressure is good, it puts me in the mode to win. I can control it because it's just a feeling. The problem with pressure is when you feel it, you think it's a bad thing. For me, I embrace it. I want to be victorious when the moment is at the highest. Think of pressure as your want to win. Trust me, if you don't want to win you won't have pressure. Allot of times whoever wants it the most will win, no matter what the skill difference.
The World Cup demonstrated that foosball in Europe is leaps and bounds more popular than it is over here in America. Have you ever thought about moving over there permanently to be a rock star?
Haha, no. It's definitely more popular over there, but I couldn't make as much money over there as I do in America.
Your 3 row is filthy. Can you give us mortal players some insight on what your shooting strategy is on people? What kind of defenses give you the most trouble?
It's different against every player. But it's all based on the last shot(s). I say that because it could be based off a shot two games ago, or even two matches ago. It's all about where you are the majority of the time early in the shot and every second after. Sometimes I'll just shoot at your men because I can sense when you're going to move. A slower, more in position, defense is harder to shoot on. When you use a shuffle d think about how often both sides are open. With that said, a fast defense might be necessary but the key is to always have your guys on two holes. Sometimes in my defense, I might move mindlessly but right when you're about to shoot I can see that and I will commit to where I think you're going.
It's meatnut in the finals of World's Open Singles, and you have the drop. What pass and shot are you executing?
Some people have set passes and shots on big points, for me that's a tell for a good player. If I don't have a good gut feeling on what to do before, I will go into that last ball with a good read. I will make a split second decision after reading it for a few seconds. This is where you should saved that much needed timeout.
Who have been your biggest rivals in the game?
Tony is my biggest in singles, and Fredrico and Todd in doubles. But for me, when I lose, my rival is usually myself. I feel that I beat myself more than others beat me. How many times have you said "aww...I knew he was going to do that, but they still get it." That's what I mean.
Ever have a match where sportsmanship is pushed to the limits, and you find yourself getting personal, and needing to beat the other player because you just don't like him at the moment? If so, details!
Yes, almost everybody will have this happen at least once. The trick is to control your anger, embrace it. Just because you're angry doesn't mean you have to slam the ball as hard as you can. That will probably make you miss the shot. And a lot of times when you're angry it means you're going to shoot fast and that's a tell. So play your heart out but don't let it change your game.
You and Tony are constantly the top placing foosers in most tour stops nowadays. What separates you from the rest of the Pro Masters? Is it more skill? Passion? Your youth? Dedication?
I think we both have the "highest confidence", but its a mixture of passion, youth and skill. But allot of it probably has to do with touring. There's nobody on tour that goes to as many tournaments as we do. We're always in a tournament mind set. We probably feel the most comfortable as well because of how much we play.
I hear a lot of people say Billy has the most natural talent of anyone playing today, and would be the best player if he still played the game as serious as he used to - do you agree with that?
Yes, he does. But I couldn't say he has the best mental game. Remember talent is only half the game.
How come I never see anyone play with Rico other than Todd? Have you ever wanted to team up with him, or is he just a Eurobitch that needs to be taught some manners? LOL
LOL. Him and Todd go way back. Todd saw the skill in Rico and taught him a head game. We were going to play an Euro tourney, but he got hurt and couldn't play. Plus you can't argue with their record...as of now they are the best team in the history of the game.
How many foosball groupies do you have?
LOL. Just a girlfriend now. And no, I didn't meet her through foosball. But yes, there are foosball groupies.
Do you think doing drugs, including pot which can calm the nerves, gives players an unfair advantage on the table? Why or why not?
The only advantage drugs could give you, is a pick me up when your tired. I think every drug out there only hurts your game. Your mental game cannot be at it's best on drugs.
Are there any foosball goals you've still yet to achieve?
Yes, I need Open Doubles at Worlds.
There comes a time in every fooser's life when they have to evaluate their priorities. They need to weigh what is most important in life, and a lot of times, foosball is forced to take a backseat to family and career. Do you see yourself slowing down anytime soon in order to finish college or pursue any other dreams?
Not so much now, but yes it will slow down eventually. But as long as there's a tour I'll be there.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In foosball, and in your life?
The best player of all time.
Well that's it for the hot seat! Thanks so much, Ryan - there is some fantastic foosball advice here. Congrats on all your success, and good luck on becoming the best player of all time! Denver is lucky to have you as part of our player base!
Most photos credited to E. "Iceman" Moore from the 2010 World Cup.