Interview: Ajay Nwosu (LA TEQERS)

Interview: Ajay Nwosu (LA TEQERS)

INSIDE TEQBALL- STORIES FROM THE TEQBALL WORLD

Ajay Nwosu is driving the growth of teqball in the USA, where the former professional footballer has ambitious plans for the sport. Nwosu has set up the highly successful teqball club, the LA Teqers, and organised two Teqball Challenger Cups in 2019 (San Diego and Los Angeles). The USA competed in the Teqball World Championships 2019 and Nwosu plans to use this experience to grow the sport all over the country and inspire a generation of world-class teqers.

Do you remember the first time you experienced the curved table?

Yes – I wasn’t associated with teqball or LA Teqers at the time. I was at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago in January 2019 and walked past the table where there was a crowd gathered and was immediately fascinated by the sport.

Why do you think Teqball is so addictive?

It’s addictive because there is nothing else like it. It’s simply its own sport. The closest thing it compares to is football/soccer. This is why so many football players love it, because they get a similar joy, addictiveness and the endorphins they experience when playing football.

When did you establish LA Teqers?

We established LA Teqers in November 2019.

You have been making great progress over the past few months. You have organised Challenger Cups in Los Angeles and San Diego, how was the sport received? Can you provide us with some data on the number of players?

The sport has been very well-received and people are excited to take part and experience it. We have some big plans to continue spreading the love of teqball in California and beyond. In a short space of time, the impact teqball has had in the LA community has been great to witness. We ran the first ever Challenger Cup tournament with 17 teams, including six female athletes, which was the highest number ever to take part. We also had multiple countries represented which was great for the growth of the sport in the US. 

Beyond the duties at the club, how much time do you have to play this game?

I’m so busy these days and I’m usually at the office, at a meeting or a LA Teqers event location. But I am addicted to the sport like almost everyone else so I try and get my fix by playing every once in a while!

Coming from a football background, you have many futnet, futsal and futevolei players joining your community, what do you consider as your biggest achievement so far?

The biggest achievement has been establishing the LA Teqers organisation and using it as a vehicle to quickly grow the sport and to bring the most talented players from all different backgrounds, such as futsal, futnet, futevolei , beach soccer and indoor soccer, together to not only compete at a high level but have fun whilst doing it. It’s great being able to bring the most technical players both male and female from all demographics and race in the LA community together to enjoy the sport.

You put great emphasis on the training of female athletes, why do you consider this to be crucial?

Yes – I believe the future is female, and as we grow the sport at a fast rate we need to continuously emphasise that it is a gender neutral sport and encourage more females to be a part of the journey and growth. The best way to do that is to have females competing at a high level and give them the platform to do so. We need more females playing so they can be role models in the sport and so that other females can be inspired and aspire to dream, play, compete and achieve. The US women’s national soccer team is a great example of this, so why can’t we do the same with the LA Teqers and our sport – teqball.

You attended the Teqball World Championships 2019 in Hungary with the LA Teqers athletes representing USA, please tell us about this experience.

It was a great experience for myself and the athletes who represented the USA. It was our first World Championships and the level and quality of the athletes and countries represented was a high standard. We enjoyed the experience overall but didn’t perform as well as we would have liked as a team and country. The goal in 2020 is to go back, compete and win the event! We have had a year to train, prepare and we have witnessed the level of competition we are up against.

What is the most memorable moment of your teqlife so far?

Two moments stand out for me: firstly, experiencing the 2019 Teqball World Championships in Budapest, and secondly, setting up and executing our first ever Teqball Challenger Cup in California and the USA.

How has COVID-19 affected your everyday life? How are your clubs and players keeping up with their training routines?

It has had an impact on everyone, including us. But at times like these we have adjusted as an organisation and used most of this period to strategize and look at best practices and plans we can implement to make us better and more refined. We have practiced individually and formed training plans we follow. The SQILLER app has been a great resource for us as well and we have used it to stay occupied and get touches on the ball on a daily basis.

What are your teqball-related goals for the year 2020?

The top goal is for the USA to win the Teqball 2020 World Championships – that would be special! The second goal would be to grow the sport of teqball across the USA and have high-level clubs formed across all 50 US states that compete at national tournaments. The third goal would be to run the largest-ever, high-level Challenger Cup tournament in the world to date.

Where do you see teqball in 2028?

I see Teqball on the Olympic stage at the 2028 Olympics for sure! That Olympics will be in LA, and how amazing would that be to witness and have the whole world watch and fall in love with the sport.

Thank you for the interview and good luck with all your endeavours with teqball!

04 May 2020