David McBeath will play in the first ever Major League Table Tennis season in the USA after he was picked by Texas Smash in the player draft.
The England international was the 13th of 64 players to be assigned as the eight teams took turns to select from the pool of players.
He was the second pick of Texas Smash, who are one of four teams in the West Division. McBeath will feature alongside world Amy Wang, Nandan Naresh and Darryl Tsao of the USA, Japan’s Hiromitsu Kasahara, Yoan Rebetez of Switzerland, Bruno Ventura dos Anjos of Brazil and China’s Emily Wang.
Smash are coached by Jorg Bitzigeio, former Germany Women’s coach and USA Table Tennis High Performance Director.
The draft of 64 players from 24 nations heralds the launch of the first professional table tennis league in the United States. Also in the West Division are Bay Area Blasters, Seattle Spinners and Portland Paddlers. The East Division is made up of Carolina Gold Rush, Florida Crocs, Princeton Revolution and Chicago Wind.
Watch the draft in full below.
As well as women’s world No 69 Wang, among the other players involved are France’s Enzo Angles – the first pick in the draft – who is ranked No 264 in the world, and 2015 European Games bronze medallist Kou Lei of Ukraine.
Damien Provost and Oriol Monzo, who both represented Senior British League, Premier Division champions Ormeau last season, are also signed up.
Other familiar names are Jeremy Hazin of Canada, Barbadian Tyrese Knight and Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, who all competed at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Major League Table Tennis promises a dynamic format combining singles, doubles and the first-ever Golden Game, where players alternate every four points in a race to 21.
Flint Lane, CEO of MLTT, said: “The introduction of MLTT isn’t just another sports league. We’re elevating the sport from its traditional confines to the forefront of mainstream sports. The MLTT organization, coaches and players are excited about this new venture and we encourage fans worldwide to tune in for some exciting action.”
The season begins with the East Division in Daytona Beach, Florida, on September 15-17, before McBeath and his colleagues are into the action on September 22-24 in Santa Cruz, California.
There are further fixtures in October and November before the entire league competes together on December 1-3 in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to end the first half of the season.