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Joe Trujillo

Nov June 14, 2012 by Scott Rodriguez

Joe Teezy's been runner up in Am events for over a year, but with intense training and touring....he finally overcame the hump and began collecting titles recently. He sat down with COFoosball.com to give some insight on what it takes to be a champ.

How'd you first get into this game?

It all started for me in the summer of '97, in Utah. I played off and on, hitting a few Vegas tourneys, for fun, until 2000, when I moved to Colorado Springs, and only really played once or twice until I moved to Denver in 2005. I played around the bars here, but didn't pursue it seriously until 2009, when I got a call from a good friend, Steve Simons, and he told me about Colorado State, so I decided to give it a shot. I took a couple days from work, and played a few events. I think I took 5th/6th, with a beginner in the Pro-Am, and decided that next day to get back on a table, with a different mindset. I slowly progressed back into the game, and here I am now.

How did you go from AM backpack to AM badass?

A lot of training, and playing a ton of singles over the last year, focusing on being an offensive player rather than just relying on a defensive game plan, I guess. It's been a work in progress, but I have started seeing some decent results on the Am level. I have a long way to go, but I've hit some decent goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

You took your lumps and had a LOT of second place finishes this past year. What was different at CO state?

Thanks for reminding me, haha!! For one reason or another, I couldn't get over that "finals" hump, and it was pretty discouraging. I remember Rob Mares coming up to me after losing in a big finals match. He asked me if I knew what the 3rdplace team was doing, while I was in the finals. I had no idea, I replied. He said they were in the bleachers, wishing they could be in the same spot I was in. It didn't click with me until I had that chance again. At Colorado State, I focused on "boring foosball". By that, I mean, wall/lane, roller. From that I would make adjustments, depending on defenses I saw. In my finals matches, I was getting bricked on the roller (even the pull side), and had to adjust to my pull shot during the last games. I give a ton of credit to Jerry Todd for giving us some key blocks, and great goals, while I tuned in my alternate shot. Maybe one day, I'll switch to it, but who knows.

What was the single defining "I'm getting good at this game" moment?

I guess it didn't come at one moment, but I started feeling more comfortable at either position, this year. I played singles against Mark Brubaker every day, for a couple hours at a time, and the first few sessions, he would crush me. After a period, I would win more and more. Now we battle to the last point, and he usually gets the edge on me. Lately, I have been getting some of those close ones, and that's when I started feeling that I'm getting pretty good at this.

We both know your pullside roller is weako lol....how did you have such a great weekend, against such brutal competition at CO state with a one sided roller? Did you find your pullside? Did you throw it out there just enough to keep people guessing? Or are goalies just morons and let you have your push side all match long?

Haha, I actually drill my pull side more than any other shot, nowadays. I read something from Terry Moore about having a weak side on the roller. He said that if one side is weaker; practice your weaker side, until it is better than your strong side. At State, I honestly went pull side about 15% of the entire tournament, and went push or middle the rest of the way. I can hit it, but didn't feel comfortable shooting it, so I waited for the push side or the middle to open up. Most of my opponents eventually moved out of the way. (Side note, I can hit the pull side now, just so we're clear, haha!!)

Lol - I'll believe that when I see it! I watched a lot of your matches at State, and you didn't waltz through the brackets. There were multiple times where you were on the ropes....down a few points, but never broke. You just pulled out block after block, along with some great 2 bar shots to win. How do you explain your resilience? What's your mindset when you're down by a few points?

It felt like I was against the ropes throughout the entire weekend. I guess I went into survival mode, and used a lot of different variations on my defense, to find one that worked, and that worked a lot. I put a lot of effort in steering clear of patterns, and covering all holes evenly. As far as the shot goes, I just felt I could exploit the long, if I waited for it. My resilience is based on giving 100% effort on every possession.

Do you have any arch enemies in foosball? You know....someone that you just hate losing to?

Haha, arch enemies? I don't have any, but I guess anyone that beats me when it counts, is on a sort of 'hit list', and I take every game after that more serious. After Ross and Jim beat me in the finals at HOFC, 2 years ago, the list was created, haha! I received some redemption this year, from some players that beat me, but I don't consider any fooser out there as an enemy, as they make me practice harder.

Who do you think the next player is to crush AM events?


Winning shot in Am Dubs finals. Colorado State. 11/12/12

I could see any Am that takes the game serious, and goes to more than one or two stops, being the next ones to blow up. I couldn't honestly name one or two that could, but rather 80% of them have potential. My advice to all Ams; tour more, gain that experience, and you will get better. Look at Mark B., Ross, Jim, and even myself. We went to out of state tournaments, and the game just gets easier, and we all got better. Local tournaments are awesome in Colorado, and we have a great base of amateurs, that learn a ton from local vets, but touring gives you that much more of a variety of styles, and experiences that increase your skill level.

Why the push from the pits?

It was the first shot I ever learned, and I shot it from the front, as well. It stuck for me in the nets, but wasn't a shot I really wanted to develop as a forward. Now it feels like a natural side for me, although I have been practicing the pull from the back, and it's slowly getting better.

Give the readers two of your funniest stories on tour.

In all the stops I've been to this year, I have a ton of funny stories, but most of them are rated for adults only, and I shouldn't repeat them on this forum, so if you want the goods, ask me in person, and I'll gladly share, haha!! I do however have a lighter-hearted story that is mildly funny.

Mississippi State, I was playing Am Doubles with Karen Lamano, and she was bricking the heck out of Dennis LeBlanc from Louisiana. We beat them pretty handily, and afterwards he comes up to Karen, and said "You were like the Great Wall of China, miss!" Me and Karen look at each other, like "did he just say that?" We both start cracking up, and after that, we started up a list of "southern lingo". I don't think he was trying to sound racist or anything, but we found it hysterical, since he sounds like Foghorn Leghorn.

On top of being a great fooser, you're also one of the nicest guys in the room to talk to. What keeps you so humble? Why haven't you gone the way of Ross aka. Grand Master in his own mind?

I appreciate that! I still feel like one of the newer players to hit the scene, so I do a lot of listening. Lately, I've opened up a bit more, and met a ton of new people, which gives me a new level of respect to the sport. For that, I am humbled at how friendly players from all over the country are. Ross is his own beast, but I think he gets a boost from that persona, which works for him. I have to respect whatever works for him.

You're going to be an expert next year - do you think you have what it takes to compete in that playing field?

Absolutely! I will continue to train every day, and plan on making 5 or 6 stops again in 2013. I am definitely ready to compete in the "shark tank" that is the Expert division.

You're a solid goalie, as well as forward. If you want to excel at either, you're going to have to pick one. Backpack, or forward. What's it going to be?

I feel honestly that I want to excel as a forward, and as a goalie. I know my goalie game is strong, and right now I'm trying to bring my forward game up to par. Eventually I want to primarily focus on becoming a premier forward, but right now, I'm content on playing either position.

Who are the 5 goalies, and 5 forwards you'd most want to play with at a tour event?

Forwards:

  • Jason Wicks (TX)
  • Jay Wong (Canada)
  • Phil Washum
  • Jerry Todd
  • Mark Brubaker

These are in no particular order.

Goalies:

  • Jerry Todd
  • Darren Rose
  • Dan Barber
  • Mark Kraus
  • Ross Lantzy

Again, in no particular order.

That was actually a tougher question than I thought. I will honestly play with anyone that gives 100%, period.

You travel a lot....what's been the best tournament you've ever been to, and why?

The best stop of the year for me had to be the Bart O' Hearn. It was unlike any other stop I've ever attended. I felt like I was playing for more than a "run of the mill" reason. Everyone there was friendly; there weren't any hold ups, or conflicts. I've wanted to go for some time, and when the opportunity arose, I jumped on it. I can only hope that any fooser wanting to go to a great tournament, this is the one! I didn't win anything, but had a great time, met a bunch of new friends, and ate some great food!! I also got to see Rob beat Tony in Open Singles (still the best singles match I've ever seen!!).

You put in a lot of hard work, and it finally paid off. There are a lot of players who are new to the game in CO....what's your advice to all the noobs out there?

I have a bit of advice to the newer players that are just getting into the game. Never be afraid to ask questions. Most of the vets will give you solid advice, and even show you a thing or two to improve your game. I studied a lot of matches live, and watched a lot of video of Tony, Billy, Robbie, Ryan, and Todd. I would watch, and try to implement their styles, with my style of play. There are plenty of great styles in Colorado that I have tried to learn from, and tried to learn to defend. The efforts you put in today, will affect your game tomorrow!

You had a monster weekend at CO state this year. You even had a brief ceremony for the Championship belt you won at the CO State Warm Up. Are there foosers out there that you'd like to thank for helping make you the player you are today?

I have to credit everyone that has taught me anything on the table, but there are two players that I give a ton of thanks to:

1.Darren Rose, you play a goalie game, I try to emulate on a daily basis. Brick houses & screaming shots!!!

2.Mark Brubaker, if it weren't for you, my singles game would be nothing short of weak. Thank you for the endless hours of matches, followed by countless hours of discussion on every other aspect of the game.

What are your goals for the next year?

My goals for next year are to train hard, and do the same damage I did this year, as an Expert. I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully carry this bit of success into 2013!!