Los Angeles, Calif. – Major League Soccer announced on Monday an expanded eMLS with aims to grow the fan connection to MLS through the popular EA Sports’ FIFA video game.
Following a successful inaugural season this year, the league will head into 2019 with an expansion and will welcome newcomers: Atlanta United, D.C. United and the 2019 MLS expansion side FC Cincinnati.
An expansion in format comes along with an expansion in teams.
In 2019, the competition will consist of two primary events that will compose the eMLS League Series.
The LA Galaxy has been tapped to host one of the two primary events, eMLS League Series One, which is scheduled to take place in January. The next month, FC Dallas will host eMLS League Series Two.
“eMLS is an accelerant to growing fandom in North America through the increasing connection between virtual and real-world soccer,” said Brent Koning, EA SPORTS FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner.
“Our partnership with MLS and the 22 eMLS clubs elevates competitive FIFA through the power of sports and esports, and provides an engaging platform to attract new fans, sponsors and partners to the game.”
Last year, the Galaxy became one of the first MLS teams to participate in eSports when the club signed Giuseppe Guastella as the club’s first ever eSports athlete.
The 33 year-old gamer is a five-time FIFA Interactive World Championship (FIWC) finalist and FIFA Americas champion. He is also an LA native, hailing from San Pedro, CA and plays under the gamer tag xGGGodfatherx.
Guastella, along with all other eMLS players, will participate in both primary events and will result in their own distinct prizing opportunities, which has yet to be announced.
Other eMLS opportunities
The results of the eMLS League Series will determine the seeding for the 2019 eMLS Cup, where the second eMLS champion will ultimately be crowned.
EA Sports and eMLS have yet to announce when the eMLS Cup will take place, but the winner of this competition will go on to represent the MLS at the FIFA eWorld Cup, a 32-person tournament made up of winners from other FIFA events and top players from online competitions.
The 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup is set to take place in July or August of 2019.