It looks that the Americas FIFA Professional Players are getting better and the eSports clubs are starting to add them to their teams.
The Rise of the Americas FIFA Professional Players
When Benedikt “BenediktSaltzer” Saltzer signed with Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg in May 2015, he was the first-ever EA SPORTS FIFA competitor to sign a contract with a professional football club. The move by the German club was an innovative one, and it shed light on an untapped market that had been neglected by teams around the world.
Since then, a multitude of European clubs have followed suit in signing EA SPORTS FIFA competitors to represent them in FIFA tournaments around the world. Clubs from other countries have joined in, too. Manchester City and West Ham United in England, Valencia C.F. in Spain, Schalke 04 and Wolfsburg in Germany, AFC Ajax in the Netherlands, and French giants Paris Saint-Germain have all signed one or more FIFA competitors to their clubs. The recruiting by these teams has been limited to players in the European competitive scene. Until now.
Over the last few months, a series of signings have been announced, indicating that the scouting for FIFA talent has crossed the big pond with several FIFA competitors from the North and South America continents joining European-based esports teams.
To start, in February Italian club AS Roma announced the creation of their esports team, along with the signings of three competitors. One of those was Aman “Aman” Seddiqi. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Aman became the first Americas-based competitor to sign with a European club.
The first tournament where he donned the AS Roma kit was the 2017 Season 1 Americas Regional Final in Miami. Aman progressed to the knockout stage, but succumbed to Kid M3mito in the quarterfinal round of the lower bracket and finished his participation earlier than everyone expected.
The following month, UK-based esports team Hashtag United, created by YouTuber Spencer Owen, announced the addition of fellow YouTuber and American competitive player Mike “Hashtag Mike” LaBelle, known as DirtyMike within the FIFA community. He joins 2017 Europe Season 1 Regional Champion Tassal “Hashtag Tass” Rushan, Harry “Hashtag Harry” Hesketh, and Ivan “BorasLegend” Lapanje in what is one of the strongest lineups of any FIFA esports team in the world.
Finally, Paris Saint-Germain eSports recently announced the signing of 2017 Season 1 Americas Regional Champion and two-time Brazilian Champion, Rafael “Rafifa 13” Fortes. The 21-year-old Brazilian joins an already talented squad, formed by August “Agge” Rosenmeier and Lucas “Daxe” Cuillerier, and is the first non-European player to join the team.
These signings signal a shift in the recruiting trends seen to date. With a plethora of talented FIFA competitors in North, Central, and South America, it’s certain we’ll see more Americas-based competitors joining the ranks of professional clubs from Europe and other parts in the world.
Rafifa13 is also the latest example of how winning on the big stage can catapult a competitor’s career. Will the next big signing to a professional club be a competitor from the 2017 Season 2 Regional Finals? The scouts will be watching!