Ozark FC Embracing Opportunities in the VPG eNPSL

By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com

The VPG eNPSL has allowed NPSL fans and supporters to continue following their teams and
has even expanded the NPSL’s reach despite the cancellation of the traditional summer season.

“Participation in the eNPSL has provided a new and additional channel to socialize the Ozark FC
name, connecting with a base of people we may otherwise not been able to connect with,” Ozark
FC Owner/GM Todd Carrigan said. “In the absence of physical soccer, it has allowed us to
produce content to be shared with our community and stay in touch locally.”

Lee Cork, a player/coach for the Ozark FC esports program, has enjoyed every opportunity that
the eNPSL has offered.

“It’s really fun,” Cork said. “A lot of these players are people who have played soccer at a high
level, but some haven’t. But everyone has that dream of pulling on that jersey and competing for
a real club. This is a great option to do that. It’s fulfilling a dream for some of these players.
It’s created a lot of buzz for the NPSL too, with these teams being connected to real teams so
now you have people going out and buying merch and supporting the club that might not have

What is the VPG eNPSL? It is a competition comprised of 15 NPSL teams and an NPSL referees
team that compete in 30 matches on FIFA 20 Pro Clubs. This mode allows for 11v11 FIFA 20
matches, with each individual player controlling a virtual player within the game. With such a
format, it requires a great deal of communication between the players on each squad and creates
a number of new challenges.

As a former soccer player with 25 years of experience in the UK with the likes of Norwich City
Academy, Dereham Town FC, and Jubilee Rangers, Cork is attempting to bring his brand of
European soccer into FIFA.

“The way they play FIFA in Europe is very different from how they play in North America,
which I think is a true reflection of the real game as well,” Cork said. “So, I try to bring a more
European tiki-taka like style. It’s been fun trying to create a rapport within the team because in
real life soccer you have the ability to see your teammates face-to-face and can have individual
sessions where you can stop and coach your team, which isn’t possible in Pro Clubs.”

The difficulty of recreating real-life training sessions does not stop Cork and Ozark FC from
doing all they can to improve. Ozark FC’s squad participates in nightly matches and friendlies in
Pro Clubs and treats these matches as training sessions for their VPG eNPSL competitions. They
also ensure that the squad has chances to discuss tactics and other matters in weekly video

“You can always find friendlies and tournaments to try to hone their skills,” Cork said. “One
thing we do here at Ozark FC is organize weekly video meetings so we’ll get together on Skype and chat face-to-face about what’s working. Any kind of problems they may have, we bring
them to the front. We have a good group of guys. It’s gone really well for us and the players
have gotten into it and seem to enjoy it.”

Though many people play video games to relax and unwind, esports and the VPG eNPSL turns
up the intensity. The VPG eNPSL has created a strong competitive environment and continues
existing real NPSL rivalries in the virtual world.

“It’s extremely competitive, it’s crazy how competitive it is in fact,” Cork said. “You get a
strong competitive atmosphere. I saw that two managers of teams who have a real-life rivalry
going at each other on Facebook in a friendly, competitive way. It’s really just like real life.”

With the regular season ending the first week of July, Cork and Ozark FC are pushing hard to get
the most out of their final matches.

“We had a really interesting start, it took a few games to gel,” Cork said. “We were second
bottom at the midway point and are already back in eleventh which is closer to mid-table. The
end goal is to really push for the playoffs this year and really redeem ourselves.”

Given the experiences of both Cork and Ozark FC, the VPG eNPSL has already proven to be a
great opportunity for NPSL fans and supporters to connect with their favorite clubs in a brand-
new way.

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