Top-flight Australian soccer side Melbourne City have become the first A-League team to sign an esports player.
20-year-old Marcus Gomes has been named as the third competitive Fifa soccer video game player to be recruited by a City Football Group-owned club, alongside New York City FC’s Christopher Holly and Manchester City’s Kieran Brown.
The Melbourne-based youngster is ranked among the top 32 Fifa players in the world, and will travel to London this week to represent Melbourne City in the Fifa Interactive World Cup Grand Final, which is scheduled to take place between 16th and 18th August.
A number of major clubs including Spain’s Valencia, Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon and English side West Ham United also now have Fifa players representing them in esports competitions around the world.
“It’s an honour to be the first player signed by an A-League club in Australia,” said Gomes. “I started playing Fifa 2006 when I was nine, and I never could have imagined that the game would be where it is today, or that I would be signing a professional esports contract with a club like Melbourne City. I have followed City for the last few years and I am really looking forward to wearing the City blue shirt at this year’s tournaments.”
Scott Munn, chief executive of Melbourne City, added: “We know that many of our younger fans are playing esports regularly, and interest in the industry is growing in Australia and globally. With 16 million people playing Fifa worldwide, and the competitive Fifa scene taking shape, it is the right time for Melbourne City to move in to esports.
“We see a huge amount of potential and ambition in Marcus. He is a huge football fan, has proven success as a player, and is passionate about representing Melbourne City and engaging with our fans.”