Major League Soccer announced eMLS Friday, its own esports competition featuring nineteen MLS clubs participating at the outset. The league will kick off with the eMLS Cup April 5 at PAX East in Boston.
Each club will draft it's own esports player, and players will compete with a chance to represent all of MLS in the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 in August.
"We're honored to partner with MLS within the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series as we continue to help grow competitive gaming and soccer in North America," Todd Sitrin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA, said in a press release. "We engage millions of soccer fans daily through FIFA and attract many more who view our competitions around the world. With the eMLS we accelerate our growth as players compete on the road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018."
The winner of the eMLS Cup will advance to the FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs. But if a player were to fall early in competition at eMLS, nothing would stop them from competing independently in an effort to qualify via FIFA Ultimate Team events.
"We are excited to unveil eMLS," Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures said in a press release. "This step forward into competitive gaming is a key component in our partnership with EA Sports to promote deeper engagement and connections between MLS supporters and the millions of FIFA players around the world."
The 19 teams participating are as follows:
Columbus Crew SC
Minnesota United FC
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders FC
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver Whitecaps FC