Making it as a pro gamer

How difficult is it to have a career playing FIFA?
31 May 2019

Interview with 

Jake Cave, Manager of Northampton Town eSports


Foutball players in a see-through ball


What can you do if you’re a gamer and you want to turn professional? Jake Cave is the manager of Northampton towns eSports team. They compete in FIFA Pro clubs which is a specific kind of game mode. FIFA 19 is of course the latest in the football series and hundreds of thousands of players compete online. Chris Berrow wanted to know how it works...

Jake - So I've been playing competitive pro clubs for around three years now since the back end of 205. I just want to take it to the next level really. I've always been a fan of game and as most people are around my age and yeah I just sort of want to take to the next level see how good I was and take it to the competitive level.

Chris - What are the different kinds of modes?

Jake - So yeah. So you've got your different modes like Ultimate Team and all people know about. So if kickoff mode where you just control one player then you switch between the 11 players. This one's different in the fact that each play is controlled by someone else. So it's eleven vs. eleven of eleven real level real human players against 11 real human players. So it's a lot more realistic in terms of yeah it's a lot more teamwork involved than there would be normally.

Chris - And I suppose that means you have to get together in a group or you know you can play online obviously online you have to have quite a big team to play.

Jake - Yeah well yeah. Obviously people have commitments throughout the week we've like work family social life that sort of thing so you sort of have a fairly big squad just in case anyone some. Yeah pretty much yeah if someone steps in and plays well then they'll keep their spot.

Chris - Can I just ask you about the way because obviously there are different positions and therefore if you're a better you know playing defense than you're gonna play as a defender and other players who prefer playing on the left and therefore you could say they're the equivalent of an a left footed kind of gamer definitely.

Jake - Yeah I've I've come across that a lot even myself up until recently I would only play one side. What's your position on the striker right. I use only like pain on the left hand side because it means I could come in and finesse it round the keeper. But with the way the game is now so I've driven shots across goal a more effective so a lot planning.

Chris - Right now you sound like a captain. Captain the team would you say or you sort of manager?

Jake - I sort of organizing the sessions and getting the signings in and making sure people are turning up on time and that sort of thing. I feel like the coach basically pretty much yeah does it feel like you're a coach. Yeah. So it's a point I have to sort of give instructions I like my team supplying a sort of a certain way of playing out from the back and playing for the phases. But yeah I suppose you could call it like soccer halftime.

Chris - You've got to be competitive.

Jake - If they do well then obviously you say like keep this going. Let's not switch off here. But you know if things aren't going so well people need to be told there's a prize money at stake as well occasionally I know that this is quite a hard scene to make money in in particularly with pro clubs because not as much money as like you said some of the other kind of genres modes that are available.

Chris - What kind of prize pools are we talking when you get to compete for actual money.

Jake - So we were gonna go to a tournament in February where the prize fund depended on the amount teams would have been up to four Grand Slam is for pro clubs. That's a ridiculous amount of money because it's not really that well-known it's not that well back at the minute. So about would have been a lot of money and you split that between eleven people it covers your weekend covers your expenses and a bit more so you're not at the point obviously where you could give up other stuff and take this seriously as a career.

Chris -But I suppose that could be the aim eventually?

Jake - Definitely. And I think more more football clubs now are recognizing that there's clubs all over the place I think Manchester United got involved now and I've seen Ajax launch one last year so it's not just in this country across the globe as well.

Chris - People are recognizing it was like Premier League clubs like you say have signed up gamers to play for their sports teams and then they go and compete and people that you know thousands hundreds of thousands and sometimes even you can get towards the upper figures that people are watching it online.

Jake - Yeah and it's not just FIFA either, League is probably not one of the most popular ones. When you've got like League of Legends you get you know hundreds of thousands of people watching that. And the prize money them can go up to a half a million dollars. It's just incredible how big this is and how big it can make it still fairly new as well. And they're just talking about it recently about being potentially played at the Olympics at the Asian Games. So there's huge potential for it.

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