Lely Departs As Team Europe Captain

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Almost immediately after guiding Team Europe to an 11-7 victory over Team USA in Las Vegas at the 2022 Mosconi Cup, European captain Alex Lely announced his decision to not return if asked by promoter Matchroom Sport. By Mike Panozzo

Lely concluded a three-year stint at the helm of Team Europe with a perfect 3-0 mark, giving him a 4-1 career record. (Lely captained Team Europe to a win in Malta in 2008 but lost the 2009 Mosconi Cup to Team USA in Las Vegas.)

“It’s been a great run,” Lely posted on his Facebook page on Dec. 5. “The intensity I experienced in this one, I will probably never go through again. It was the best one for me. But it ends now. A three-year run is good, I feel. The fans get to see a new face. The players get new input.” Lely went on to explain his decision on the Window’s Open podcast the following day.

“Each year I thought maybe I would keep doing it until I lost,” he said. “But then doubt creeped in this year and I decided I wouldn’t return. I think it’s healthy for the event if the coaches don’t keep going until they lose.

“For myself, personally, I feel like I will have a little more autonomy in what I choose to do,” he continued. “The job is in cooperation with Matchroom, which brings certain conditions. The relationships I have with players is a little bit affected by it. It’s nothing too major.

“It’s a great gig, it’s a big honor to do it and the bonding with the players is really intense. And you cherish that for life. But I don’t think adding a fourth or fifth year will add so much more to that element.”

Lely, from the Hague, Netherlands, participated as a player in the 1998 Mosconi Cup, the same year he also won the Matchroom-produced World Pool Masters title. He also played for Team Europe in the 2005 Mosconi Cup before retiring from active competition.

Lely was anointed Team Europe captain in 2020, following a second consecutive defeat for Team Europe under the captaincy of Sweden’s Marcus Chamat in 2019.

Matchroom has yet to announce a timeframe or process for naming a new captain for Team Europe. Jeremy Jones’ position as captain of Team USA will also be addressed. Jones also just completed a three-year stint as team captain, posting an 0-3 record.

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