Duluth FC is one of the most experienced and seasoned sides in the eNPSL. The club entered the eNPSL season with several years of experience in the esports world. This has allowed Duluth FC to lead the way for the league, mentoring and providing advice to clubs that are new to the esports scene.
“The esports component of Duluth FC dates back approximately three years and we are very thankful and excited that NPSL has expanded operations in the area of electronic sports,” Duluth FC GM Tim Sas said.
Sas praised the work of esports manager Andrew Campbell and standout player Jay Adams.
“Our esports team began precisely with Andrew Campbell, who served on our Duluth FC staff for a number of years, first as visiting team liaison and currently as graphics manager and esports manager,” Sas said. “Jay Adams, also hails from the Duluth area, even though he currently lives in the Minneapolis area; and he also has been involved with our Duluth FC esports pursuits early on. All the BlueGreens are very proud of Jay currently representing Minnesota United of MLS in their esports program. Both of them are quite simply very nice men; good people to know and spend time with. Personally, having worked closely with Andrew for a few years, and now that he has joined our management team, I am pleased to call him a friend. Andrew is one of the most kind, patient, and responsible people I get to work closely with and I’m confident this friendship will only grow.”
Campbell knows the importance of bringing on talented players and he did just that with Adams, a world-class competitor with experience in eMLS and arguably one of the top players in North America.
“Jay has been known in the Pro Clubs community for the past few years, and having a eNPSL team from Minnesota we knew we had to bring him home,” Campbell said.
Adams has enjoyed his time with Duluth FC.
“Playing for Duluth has been good,” Adams said. “The team that was put together is strong and the fan support online has been great.”
Playing for Minnesota United FC has been a very special experience for Adams.
“This will sound cliche but it’s a dream come true,” Adams said. “I have been a diehard supporter for several years and have come to respect and appreciate the community they have helped build within Minnesota.”
eMLS is special because it brings the world’s top players together for a massive competition with incredible fan support. The competition’s growth and popularity, even among the pandemic, is absolutely staggering.
“eMLS has grown a lot in terms of fan involvement and exposure over the last few seasons,” Adams said. “Going from one major event a year to now two series events with a final major competition has been great. I think besides the massive support online, seeing how it evolved from being a part of another event to being its own marquee event and the atmosphere the MLS team creates has been phenomenal.”
Adams has experienced the best of both worlds: competing in 1v1 with eMLS and 11v11 in the eNPSL.
“Pro Clubs has always been one of my favorite FIFA game modes and I think it brings more of a real feel to playing FIFA,” Adams said. “Pro Clubs has the same tactics but there is a human element that allows more advantages and disadvantages compared to 1v1 where there is a bit more computer simulation to movements and plays.”
Adams has found the quality of play within the eNPSL to be very high.
“The competition is really high in eNPSL,” Adams said. “Some of the teams put together have a lot of verified and pro FIFA players and when you add in some have actual soccer players as well that bring a high level understanding of the game it only makes it that much stronger. It went down to the final week and the final games for us to secure a playoff spot and there were a lot of other teams vying for the same spots.”
Being part of both Minnesota United FC and Duluth FC has its advantages. The connection to an actual club is important to many gamers.
“It is just another element of the game you typically don’t get,” Adams said. “Sure you can play as a team in a game but when you actually represent them and feel a part of the club it’s a source of identity and an inspiration to be better. Some clubs and organizations have been missing out on this connection to fans and I am happy to find myself working with some of the best in the country.”
Adams is excited about the growth and potential of esports as a whole.
“I think the opportunities with esports are endless,” Adams said. “There will always be different games and modes that can help add another dynamic to existing sports fanbases. I think in the next 5-10 years there is a real possibility that sports organizations will essentially include an esports element. I don’t see esports replacing existing sports but I see them getting a lot more attention as the games get better and teams/fans have an outlet to stay connected and a part of the team. And let’s be real, there is a lot of money to be made for teams on the pitch and off the pitch, I only see that growing on the virtual pitch as well.”
This comment shows why so many people, including Duluth FC and the NPSL, are so bullish on the future of esports. It also shows why the eNPSL has seen so much support from fans, supporters, and the gaming community over the past few months.
Photo Credit: Minnesota United