Market Overview

Orange County Soccer Club Enters The World Of eSports


Orange County Soccer Club Enters The World Of eSports

Soccer fans and gamers unite! Orange County SC makes USL and US pro soccer history establishing the club's first eSports team

PR Newswire

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Soccer is a global sport that brings together fans, coaches and players of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. As the world's favorite sport, it translates well from the pitch to the eSports world. Quickly becoming an innovative leader on and off the pitch, Orange County Soccer Club today announced the creation of its new eSports team. This digital extension of the club's on-field squad launches with the creation of a FIFA 11v11 team, which will compete in the Virtual Pro Gaming (VPG) league, becoming the first of its kind in US pro soccer and United Soccer League (USL) history.

Orange County Soccer Club today announced the creation of its new eSports team. This digital extension of the club's on-field squad launches with the creation of a FIFA 11v11 team, which will compete in the Virtual Pro Gaming (VPG) league, becoming the first of its kind in US pro soccer and United Soccer League (USL) history.

Millions of soccer fans play the FIFA franchise of video games from EA Sports. According to EA Sports' Electronic Arts Reports Q1 FY19 Financial Results, there has been a sharp increase in participation in the current season of FIFA18 competitive gaming—80% more average viewers over last season. With the release of FIFA 19 fast approaching in late September, this rapid growth is only expected to continue.

In fact, over 20 million players have participated in this season's competitive gaming, and Orange County SC Owner & President James A. Keston is one of them.

"I have been playing FIFA games for more than 20 years on multiple platforms," said Keston. "As the world of video games increasingly evolves into both a group activity and a spectator sport, it seems like a natural progression for 11 individual gamers, each controlling one player and communicating with one another, to truly act as a team. With our new eSports team, anyone with a PlayStation 4 can now experience the excitement and teamwork that we at Orange County SC work tirelessly to cultivate every day as the only professional soccer team between Long Beach and Tijuana."

VPG uniquely provides players with the opportunity to participate as a team online. While the eMLS Cup (which launched earlier this year) only allows 1v1 action, VPG's FIFA eSports solution allows full teams of eleven players. VPG's platform dominates the FIFA 11v11 eSports market, with active players representing over 110 countries and 2,200 teams competing in the league worldwide.

Driven by sheer passion for playing FIFA, VPG's Chief Operation Officer Danny Robinson became a gamer at a very young age. For VPG, partnering with Orange County SC provides strong leadership and promises to help galvanize other professional soccer teams to join the eSports world.

"Generally, eSports teams don't have established fan bases when joining the competitive gaming scene," said Robinson. "However, professional soccer clubs like Orange Country SC have established fan bases and strong brand names. We all know that soccer fans are a different breed when it comes to fandom. I am excited to connect soccer fans from Southern California, across the country and around the globe to Orange County SC." Robinson hopes that when the FIFA 2026 World Cup comes to the United States, there will be a virtual 11v11 World Cup hosted by VPG as well.

In addition to cultivating teamwork, Robinson believes EA Sports' FIFA video game provides other benefits which uniquely translate into the physical world of soccer.

"As a gamer, I think FIFA helps players better understand the game of soccer. Playing FIFA helps increase a player's soccer IQ. Great vision is important in the eSports world as well. Players can see why a pass backwards can actually open up better opportunities to move the ball forward — just like in real life on the pitch," said Robinson.

According to Robinson, there are five keys to be a playmaker in FIFA eSports.

  1. Keep possession of the ball.
  2. Know when and when not to sprint.
  3. Be vocal on the mic, and let people know what you are thinking.
  4. Have great positioning, so you are always available for a pass.
  5. Use the game's Skills Mode to work on finishing. A playmaker becomes very dangerous when the opposing team respects their shot as well as their ability to create shots.

To win the high-level Pro Club league and Cup games, gamers have to be able to work as a team and get on the same page. As with any professional soccer team, recruiting and evaluating talent can make or break the season.

Gamers who think they have what it takes to represent Orange County SC eSports will be able to take part in the team's official tryouts in September. Once the squad roster is complete and VPG season is underway in October, the Orange County SC eSports team will play matches on a regular basis. Matches will be streamed live via Twitch (, Facebook (@ocscesports) and Twitter (@ocscesports) pages for free. For more details, please visit

Following the launch of its MyOCSC app earlier this year, the formation of this eSports team is just the latest example of Orange County SC's commitment to finding new ways to better connect its fans with the club and one another by leveraging sports technologies in Orange County.


Orange County Soccer Club is Orange County's only professional soccer team that is part of the United Soccer League (USL), the fastest growing Division II professional soccer league in the world.  The USL is comprised of 34 teams across the United States.  The team plays its home games at the Orange County Great Park's Championship Soccer Stadium, located in Irvine, CA.  Nestled in the heart of the Great Park, Championship Soccer Stadium has a capacity of over 5,000 for Orange County SC matches. Orange County SC is also the official affiliate partner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), a new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. Orange County SC was one of 12 founding members of the USL during its inaugural 2011 season. The preceding club, Orange County Blues, won the 2015 Western Conference Regular Season Championship and reached the Western Conference Semi-Finals of the USL Playoffs in back-to-back seasons.  Team owner and Chief Investment Officer of LARO Properties, James Keston, purchased and re-branded the team in 2017.  Keston, who actively oversees all operations of the team, is dedicated to providing a pathway to professional soccer and a world-class soccer organization that focuses on the fans, players and youth clubs of Orange County.

For more information about Orange County Soccer Club, and to experience professional soccer in the OC, visit:  For more information about the United Soccer League, visit:


Austin Hurwitz
Senior Director of Marketing
Orange County Soccer Club


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